Governor Otti Pledges Support For Local Manufacturing As Foreign Partners Join Abia To Strengthen Footwear Industry

 

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has emphasized his administration’s dedication to revitalize local manufacturing, create a conducive environment for businesses and artisans to enhance the State’s economic growth.

 

Governor Otti stated this, Wednesday, during a meeting with the delegation from Comfort Stevens USA-China-Brazil-Industrial Development Strategy, Owerrinta; a large scale industrial Footwear Project led by the CEO, Dr John Nwankwo.

The Governor who underscored the critical importance of local manufacturing for economic development, acknowledged that no country has achieved significant development solely through the consumption of imported materials.

 

He commended the resilience of local manufacturers who stayed in Aba despite the difficult conditions, while many relocated to other states and assured the industry that his government is committed to creating a conducive business environment for them to operate as well as create jobs for the people.

 

For us, one of the most important agenda of the government is to create jobs like you rightly identified so sometimes we don’t even look at the company analysis if we can be sure that our young men and women get jobs”.

The Governor expressed the readiness of the government to partner with the organisation to establish an academy for artisans and boost footwear production in the state.

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“We are also very encouraged to learn that part of your plan is to also train and upscale our several shoemakers.

 

“The major problem a lot of them have is finishing, alot of them are impatient a lot of them don’t have the right tools, alot of them don’t have the right skills.

 

“It would be interesting to have Comfort Steve double as not just products but also train finishing school for our young ones because there are alot of them.

 

“Go to shoe plaza and see what the young men and women are doing there with bare hands you’ll understand that if you introduce them to technology, they will give much more.

 

The government will be willing to partner with you to ensure that our people are upscaled.We believe in partnership so I can assure you that this government will partner with you to ensure that you deliver“, Otto assured.

Governor Otti who noted the promising developments at Geometric Power, said that government would ensure the shoe factory in Owerrinta, would have access to steady power supply.

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Interestingly, we have awarded the contract for the dualisation of the road from Imo River into Umuikaa junction and then going beyond Umuikaa to Umuene Junction to the same contractor for seamless transportation“, Gov Otto pointed out.

 

Earlier, the CEO, Comfort Stevens Industries, Dr John Nwankwo expressed willingness of the
organisation to work in alignment with the industrialization agenda of the State Government to strengthen the footwear manufacturing industry in the state.

 

Dr Nwankwo said the Organization is ready establish a 15,000 per day footwear capacity company in Owerrinta, to boost local manufacturing, tackle unemployment and eradicate poverty adding that the project would be executed in collaboration with partners from United States of America, Brazil and China to enhance the Made-In-Aba brand.

 

He said that organisation is focused on producing footwear and footwear components that Nigerians import from overseas market every year and pointed out serious plans were underway to ensure that the shoe factory would be completely set up for operations by the end of the year.

 

In his speech, one of the foreign partners, Mr Levi Sotomaior, said that a partnership between the government and Comfort Stevens Industries was essential for the execution of the project and the establishment of an academy for artisans.

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Sotomaior added that it would facilitate knowledge and technology transfer, support local manufacturing and production of goods and boost large scale export of finished leather products.


Also, another foreign partner on the project, Mr Hon Chik, noted that project would open up the state to the global footwear industry which he said “holds a lot of promise for Abia”, and expressed confidence that the project would be a huge success.