Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, on Wednesday expressed the state government’s readiness to strengthen its collaboration with the Nigeria Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank in a new move to grow the Aba shoe industry with a view to standardizing its products for international markets.
The governor, who made the disclosure when he received in audience the management of the NEXIM Bank, led by its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Abubakar Bello at the Governor’s Lodge Aba, explained that his government had tackled major problems facing the leather and garments industry including lack of modern automation, low marketing, and power supply shortage, among other.
According to him, the efforts and other initiatives taken by the government has increased the confidence of the average Aba producer and the positive results are there for all to see.
He said: “Apart from sending 30 Abia youths to China to study automated shoe production and the procurement of the machines to ensure consistency and massive production, my 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 in the process to boost power supply.
“Abia State has attracted the interest and partnership with major global shoe manufacturers, 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 a skilled shoemaker while the State Quality Control Agency will ensure high quality of these products”, the governor added.
Ikpeazu commended the technical support by the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company and encouraged the people to increase their demand for locally made goods as a way of supporting the young artisans in the shoe and leather garments sector given the attendant positive implications for the economy.
Earlier in his remarks, NEXIM Bank Managing Director, Alhaji Abubakar Bello,pointed out that the management’s visit to the government was aimed at building strategic partnership with Abia State Government in building skills of shoe manufacturers and other leather products.
Bello explained that the planned collaboration had the potential of making Aba a major hub of shoe manufacturing in the African continent.
The banker lauded the governor in his efforts to aggressive market Made in Aba goods, adding that the bank’s partnership will partly address the challenges of restrictions in the export process as well as tariffs.