Emenike Ubani, Umuahia
Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has stated his administration’s resolve to encourage and empower Aba shoe makers, bag and leather manufacturers to excel in their trade. He was speaking at the Government House, Umuahia when he met with shoe, bag, belt and trunk bus manufacturers association of Abia state who paid him a courtesy visit. According to Ikpeazu, Abia is blessed in commerce with a lot of craftsmen and promised to give the association priority in his government’s scheme of things.
He said that the government was working on plans to ensure that there exist an industrial cluster for shoe and allied products manufacturers in Aba, adding that it was looking at the possibility of Aba shoe and leather workers producing shoes and belts for the Nigerian Army, Navy and other security personnel in the country.
Dr. Ikpeazu was of the view that it was only when the association was in a cluster that the members can enjoy economy of scale and directed the permanent secretary, ministry of commerce to ascertain why the Umukalika industrial cluster has not taken off.
He promised that the government will take some of the local shoe and leather manufactures on a foreign trip to see how things are done over there and urged members of the association to support and cooperate with his administration. Earlier,the leader of the delegation, Mr. Rowland Anyanwu appreciated the Governor for having their interest at heart and for undertaking the repair of some roads in Aba especially the Old express where their members do business.
Also Speaking, the secretary of the association, Mr. Nnabugwu Osondu who regretted that the leather industry has been neglected said that the industry can help drive the nation’s diversification quest called on government to help them with an industrial park as well as machinery and tools as their members are scattered in Aba.