The Abia State Government has disclosed that it is open to greater collaboration with the Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) towards expanding the frontiers of the Aba Shoe Industry to measure up to the standard available in international markets.
The Governor of the state, Okezie Ikpeazu, made this known when he received in audience the delegation of the NEXIM bank led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Abubakar Bello at the Governor’s Lodge Aba.
Governor Ikpeazu explained that his administration has tackled headlong the major problems facing the leather and garments sector which include; automation, marketing and power supply.
He noted that the aggressive marketing of ‘Made in Aba’ products embarked upon by his administration has increased the confidence of the average Aba producer and this has started yielding positive results.
According to the Governor, apart from sending thirty Abia youths to China to study automated shoe production and the procurement of the machines to ensure consistency and massive production.
Ikpeazu said his administration through dedication and synergy with the Federal Government attracted the Ariaria Independent Power while the Geometric power supply is in its last stage of completion, to boost power supply.
He expressed satisfaction that the state has attracted the interest and partnership with the the major global shoe manufacturers, adding that the State Polytechnic in Aba will work closely with the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO) and the Footwear Academy in Aba to develop an academic program for the certification of skilled shoemaker while the State Quality Control Agency will ensure high quality of these products.
The Governor appreciated the technical support so far received from the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company and encouraged all to take pride of their locally made goods as a way of supporting the young artisans in the shoe and leather garments sector which he said will have positive effects on the economy.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export Import Bank, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, said their visit was to seek strategic partnership with Abia State Government in building skills of Shoe Manufacturers and other leather products with the aim of making Aba the headquarters of shoe manufacturing, in Nigeria and Africa.
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He noted with delight the efforts Governor Ikpeazu has made in the aggressive marketing of Made in Aba goods.
Alhaji Bello said that their involvement will tackle head on, the challenges of restrictions in the export process as well as tariffs.
He formally sought the collaboration of the State Government in this direction and made a request to immediately visit the Shoe Factory, a request the Governor granted at once.