President Muhammadu Buhari has observed that providing dedicated electricity supply to small businesses in Ariaria International Market, Aba, will strengthen the Made-in-Nigeria Policy, which Abia State, Aba and particularly, is well known.
Buhari, who was in Aba, Tuesday, to commission the Ariaria Market Independent Power project, executed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, stated that reliable power supply was critical to the sustainability and improvement of locally made goods.
Mr. President explained that with the commissioning of the first phase of the project, which covered 4,000 shops, that all the 37,000 shops in Ariaria would enjoy constant and efficient power supply.
In his words, “I am pleased to be here for the milestone commissioning of 4,000 shops, which is now fitted with power, being a market that supplies shoes, bags, clothing and trunk boxes and many household accessories for Nigerians and many African countries, like Chad, Cameroon, Zambia, and Central Africa.
“I am told that traders in this market only got power for four hours per day, which consequently affected the viability of many businesses.”
He condemned the previous administrations at the centre, which he alleged turned its back on this problem, but still had the courage to campaign about unemployment and poverty.
“Nothing they say can change what we have done here, to provide relief for the neglect. What is happening in Abia today by way of clean, independent and reliable power to markets and small businesses is happening in Kano, Lagos and Ibadan.
“Similar initiative has started in federal universities and we have planned to cover 37 universities, through government funding. Slowly but very efficiently, we are cleaning the mess.
“We are moving our economy away from rent and heading resolutely to building an economy, through investment, enterprise and hard work.”
While commending entrepreneurs in Aba for their contribution to national development, he praised Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for responding positively to the realisation of the project.
“I thank the Governor of Abia State for his responses for this project when the Minister for Works, Housing and Power asked for his collaboration. Without such cooperation, our work here would not have been smooth.
“Today, with this programme we have demonstrated that if the common good is our mutual objective, it can be achieved irrespective of party differences and constitutional limitations.
“Electricity has no party colour. I was elected to office on the convincing argument my party made about commitment to security, developing the economy and fighting corruption.
“Some of the sound economic choices we have made for Nigeria are self-sufficiency, self-reliance, national productivity, job creation, promoting made in Nigeria goods and facilitating the ease of doing businesses.
“Our effort in local production of grains and staples such as rice is now well known, as we match on towards total production and I am pleased to note that Abia State is also a contributor”, he stated.