by GODFREY OFURUM
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has stated that the leather and garment sectors in Aba, the State’s commercial hub, are contributing immensely to the economy of the State and deserves support.
He revealed that the shoe cluster in Ariaria alone employs about one-million people and should not be ignored, because of its economic relevance.
He reiterated that his focus on providing infrastructure in Aba and Ariaria axis of the commercial city, is to provide conducive environment for artisans in the various clusters in that business corridor.
Ikpeazu, while endorsing the Bank of Industry (BoI) loan scheme to the Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMAAS), comprising shoe, belt and bag makers in Aba, expressed his desire to make life better for the artisans.
He also promised to extend similar gesture to the garment cluster at Ngwa Road Axis, to ensure that they produce in a more comfortable environment.
“For the first time in 50 years, we did a cluster of five roads in that area. But that is like a small drop in a mighty ocean, because that place was abandoned for years.
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“You can’t access Ohanku and other places within that area and we are worried. Our thinking is that God will give us the grace to continue to search out where our people are working and deliver to them quality infrastructure that can at least create what is required basically for them to move from one point to the other.
He decried inadequate power supply, which he observed has stifled commercial activities in Aba and applauded Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for approving an independent power plant for Ariaria.
In his words, “Collaborating with the agency in charge of rural electrification in the country, Ariaria today has its independent power plant, gas fired, cleaner and more regular energy.
“And our prayer is that, though the project is in its pilot phase, we expect that by the end of the year, all parts of Ariaria, which hosts some of these clusters, will be powered in an uninterrupted fashion.
“It was for this reason that we started the made-in-Aba campaign, because we knew that through aggressive marketing, we can draw the attention of all kinds of people, including the BoI, Ministry of Power. And I want to give you the cheering news that they have all responded”.
He advised artisans in Aba to be proud of their products, by inscribing their logo on their products rather than using foreign logo and thereby giving credit to an Italian, who has made no contribution to the beautiful shoes, just because they want to market the product, thereby denying themselves the right of accolade for their hard work.
Culled From – businessdayonline