By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal Government is to partner with the Abia State Government to develop appropriate and indigenous technology in order to rejuvenate the Aba leather industry.
The Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu made the pledge in his keynote address at the second Validation Workshop on National Leather and Leather Products Policy in Nigeria on Monday in Aba.
The minister said the workshop will open new vista of opportunities that will benefit Abia and the rest of Nigeria.
The State and the Federal Government, he added will also reap huge revenue from the Leather industry once it is validated.
While hailing the entrepreneurial skill of Aba people , Dr .Onu enjoined them to be proud of themselves and let their products carry the ” Made in Nigeria label, adding that as the quality of your products continue to improve, the world will take notice of you”.
The Minister said, he was proud of the tag of Aba as Nigeria’s home of the use of leather, adding that the legendary ” Made in Aba” shoes , sandals slippers , handbags, belts etc tell the story of the city as the leading center of indigenous manufacturers of leather products
He reiterated the resolve of the Buhari administration to encourage the Leather technology to help grow the economy in a sustainable manner.
He urged the participants to make useful contributions that will further enrich the policy document before its presentation to the Federal Executive Council for consideration.
Leather, he added , has the potential to break new grounds and enrich newer applications.
Dr. Onu further told the partisans to be guided b patriotism and the need for Nigeria to take her rightful place in the Comity of prosperous democracies in the world.
In his speech, the Abia state Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, said the state had organized various trainings for the operators in the leather sector as well as leather clusters in various locations in the state.
He called for greater synergy between the state, the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Technology and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
The Chairman , National Steering Committee on Leather and Leather Products Policy and the Acting Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology , Dr Eucharist Ngozi Oparah said the leather sector is the nation’s next goldmine and held the key to industrial growth , economic diversification, jobs and wealth creation.
She added that the institute had trained over 100 trainees from Aba on foot wears and leather goods as a way of linking policy to grass root.
She urged the participants to play their part to enable the Buhari administration succeed in the direction of taking Nigeria through technology and innovation.