Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia says that the state would collaborate more with the Nigeria Export – Import Bank (NEXIM) to expand Aba shoe sector to meet international standards.
Ikpeazu said this while receiving the delegation of NEXIM Bank led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Abubakar Bello at the Governor’s Lodge in Aba.
The governor explained that his administration had tackled the major problems facing the leather and garments sector in Aba which included, Automation, Marketing and Power Supply.
He said that his administration embarked on aggressive marketing of Made-in-Aba products which had increased the confidence of the average Aba producer and had begun yielding positive marketing results.
Ikpeazu said his administration sent 30 Abia youths to China to study automated shoe production and did procure the machines to ensure quality, consistency and massive production.
He also said that his administration’s dedication and synergy with the Federal Government had attracted the Ariaria Independent Power Plant to supply power to shoe cluster in the market.
The governor further said that the Geometric Power Plant which hoped to assist in providing constant power supply to the producers was in its stage of completion for take-off.
He expressed satisfaction that the state had attracted the interest and partnership with the the major shoe manufacturers across the globe.
Ikpeazu said the Abia Polytechnic will collaborate with Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO) and The Footwear Academy (TFA) all in Aba to develop an academic program for skilled shoemakers’ certification.
The governor also said that the State Quality Control Agency will oversee the production processes to ensure high quality products.
Ikpeazu appreciated the technical support so far received by the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company and encouraged all to take pride in Nigeria’s locally made goods.
He said this was one of the ways to support the young artisans in the shoe and leather garments sector to create positive effects on the economy.
Earlier, the MD/CEO of the bank, Alhaji Abubakar Bello said their visit was to seek strategic partnership with Abia government in building skills of Shoe Manufacturers and other leather workers.
He said that their aim for doing this was to make Aba the headquarters of shoe manufacturing, not just in Nigeria but in Africa.
He praised the governor’s efforts through the aggressive marketing of Made -in-Aba goods noting that the bank’s involvement will tackle head on, the challenges of restrictions in the export processes as well as tariffs.
Bello formally asked for the collaboration of the state government in this direction while requesting to immediately visit the Shoe Factory, a request the governor granted.