• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Abia approves Asa triangle site for Aba garment cluster project

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Abia State Government has approved a site at Asa Triangle, within Aba metropolis for the construction of an industrial cluster for garment makers in Aba, the State’s commercial hub.
This is in fulfilment of the Governor’s promise to develop industrial clusters in Aba, to provide an environment that is more conducive for the finished leather and garment sectors of the economy.

The facility, which is close to the Aba Shopping Centre, where the tailors source their raw materials, would boast of a car park, restaurants and banking halls.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, in his recent visit to Aba, also promised to provide a 250kva-generating set, to provide power in the facility, pending when Geometric Power Limited, would commence operation in the commercial city.

The State government also intends to develop another industrial cluster for the finished leather sector, comprising shoe, bag and belt makers at Umukalika, in Obingwa Local Government Area of the state. The land spanning about 35 acres was earmarked for the project, but left undeveloped by previous administrations in the state.

However, the present administration has set machinery in motion to realise the project and thereby boost industrial development of the State, southeast and south south regions of Nigeria.
Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, has one of the largest concentrations of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria and a bulk of this number are engaged in leather works, steel fabrication and garment making, which could be attributed to the popularity of the city.

It is estimated that Aba hosts 110,000 shoemakers and 50,000 garment makers.
The ingenuity of Aba artisans, especially, the garment and finished leather clusters, attracted the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in partnership with the Federal Government, to set up a Common Facility Centre (CFC) in the city, to support the clusters to further develop their skills.

Consequently, it is an integral part of the plan by the present administration in the state, led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, to provide an environment that is conducive for artisans and other business operators and the restoration of infrastructure in the commercial city of Aba, according to source

It is observed that regeneration of Aba would create modern neighbourhood markets and parks, including crucial developments of business and leisure, along the Aba River, and new residential and business locations.

According to Ikpeazu, “Our story as a people is one of entrepreneurship, resourcefulness and diligence. This is our pride. We have astounded the world with our home-grown technical skills, especially during a period of pervasive adversity, and followed it up with our trade and commercial prowess elevating one of our cities, Aba into a prominent commercial hub within the West African region.

“This historic prominence is to become our future narrative. The time is ripe to use the over 110,000 shoemakers and 50,000 garment makers as a launching pad to enable Abia to truly become the undisputed SME capital of Nigeria.”

He stated that his administration was committed to providing the enabling environment and infrastructure to facilitate the growth and development of Abia and its people; positioning it as a premier residential, business and tourism destination, with the ultimate objective of uplifting the lives of the people.

He recalled that Aba was for many years, a thriving hub for manufacturing and commerce until epileptic electricity supply and insecurity forced the shutdown of most indigenous and foreign owned industries.

Ikpeazu recognised and appreciated the efforts of the Geometric Power Group and the Federal Government’s NIPP project at Alaoji, towards providing a solution to the perennial challenges of electricity supply to the State.

The Governor observed that the forthcoming operationalisation of the plants would provide a critical input towards the actualisation of its blueprint and roadmap for the regeneration of Aba and the entire Abia State.

Onyebuchi Nwaigwe, president, Association of Tailors and Fashion Designers (ATFAD), an umbrella body of tailors and fashion designers in Abia State, who applauded Ikpeazu’s interest in promoting the micro, small and medium enterprises, argued that Aba garment makers have the capacity to produce for local and for export if the right facilities and equipment are made available to them.

The ATFAD president in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay explained if the sector operators were properly empowered, they would produce quality products, help create employment and contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

 

GODFREY OFURUM