Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia says the state government is ready to provide facilities that will boost leather and garment production in the state.
Ikpeazu said this on Friday while performing the ground breaking ceremony of Aba Leather And Garment Industrial Cluster in Umunnato as well as Enyimba City Garment Industry in Umukalika, both in Obingwa Local Government.
The governor said that the construction of the two local industries would encourage production of leather and garment in large quantities in Abia.
Ikpeazu said that Enyimba City Garment Industry, which was solely sponsored by the state government, would be completed before the end of the year.
He said that the Aba Leather and Garment Industrial Cluster, was a public-private partnership project and would be completed before the end of his administration.
Ikpeazu described Aba as a major contributor to the growth of leather and garment production in Nigeria, saying there was the need to create an enabling environment for increased production.
The governor said that the policy thrust of his administration since its inception had been to explore the areas where the state had comparative advantage.
Ikpeazu said that this informed the decision of the state government to embark on the two projects to provide a platform for artisans to scale up their manufacturing skills and output.
”Finally, we have come to a point where we can count ourselves and be sure that we have a place, a befitting place for our artisans, especially in the leather and garment subsector.
“Aba and Abia State is a major contributor toward what Nigeria can showcase even in the continental free trade agreement that the Federal Government had just signed and the whole country is looking up to Aba to make a strong statement in that regard
”The state government must provide the ambience that is required for our artisans to innovate ideas and flourish and that is the essence of this leather and garment cluster,” Ikpeazu said.
The governor urged the contractor to work in line with the outlined specifications of the projects for efficient delivery.
He urged members of the host communities to continue to give their unalloyed support and cooperation for the project to be completed in record time.
Ikpeazu gave an assurance that the state government would provide everything needed to ensure that artisans in the state occupy their rightful place in the scheme of things.
Earlier, Mr Mba Eme, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Industry, said that the industrial cluster was conceptualised in 2006.
Eme said that she was happy that the projects were gradually becoming a reality.
He said that the cluster would contain 15, 000 shops with facilities such as fire service station, police station, banks, clinics, toilets, CCTV cameras, standby power supply, amongstg others.
According to him, Abia artisans would leverage on the industrial cluster to promote “Made in Aba” products.
The Project Developer, Chief Chris Simon, said that the Leather and Garment Cluster would accommodate leather and garment artisans in Ariaria and other parts of the state.
Simon described the project as a first of its kind in the state, which would yield enormous benefits for the government and the people of Abia.