BusinessDay

Nigeria’s Senate President reiterates need for import substitution

... Commissions 5,000 pairs daily capacity Enyimba Automated Shoe Company

Ahmad Lawan, Nigeria’s Senate President has reiterated the need for Nigeria to embark on import substitution for the country to become prosperous.

Lawan made the observation in Aba the commercial hub of Abia State at the commissioning of Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO).

ENASCO, which has a production capacity of 5000 pairs of shoes daily, was established by the Abia State Governmemt, to automate shoe production in Aba and create jobs for the people, especially youths. It currently has 120 staff.

The present administration in Abia State had sponsored about 30 youths, including females to learn automated shoe production in China, who form the bulk of staff at ENASCO.

Lawan hailed Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for taking the issue of unemployment seriously and promised that the Senate will henceforth, end move by Federal Government Agencies to import boots and other foot wears into the country

The Senate President, who was accompanied to the commissioning, by Orji Uzor Kalu, Senate chief Whip and former Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, among others, vowed to ensure that ENASCO becomes the hub of direct and indirect employment in the country.

According to Lawan, “We cannot continue to import everything into Nigeria. We do not even have foreign reserves anymore. So, this project in addition to providing employment in Abia directly, it will indirectly provide jobs at the leather industries in other states.

“I believe that this project deserves the attention of every federal agency, especially the ministry of industries itself and indeed the CBN must be looking in this direction so that it can expand.”

Read also: Nigeria’s heavy import dependence opens it up to China’s energy crisis

“While we have 120 youths employed here, I am sure that two years from now, we should quadruple the rate of employment here and that will require improvement in all angles here. I am sure that as one of you now, we will push for more support for this particular industry.

“We have our agencies already making requests for boots and of course some garments by the time the garment industry takes off. I think we should do more than that. We must Nigerianize to create employment for our youths,” the Senate President said.

Lawan further said that as the Senate commences its budget defence, he will ask all senate committees that whenever they see agencies that require boots, they must make sure they come to Aba.

“We cannot spend such money outside anymore. I believe that by the time we do that, the sky will be our limit. If this is the only thing this Governor will leave behind, he must have left everything.

“Whatever you need to make this place work better, please call on me, I will help whatever you think any Federal agency will do to enhance the capacity of this place, I am waiting for you, your Excellency.”

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu explained that ENASCO will help position Nigeria into the leather industry ecosystem globally and ensure Nigeria derives much revenue from it.

“ENASCO will push out 5000 pairs of shoes every day to launch Nigeria into the fast-growing shoe industry globally. We can become major players in the leather industry ecosystem if we’re intentional about it.

“It is only through the patronizing of our own products that we can revitalize our economy and be self-sufficient in all we want.

“We are doing a similar factory that will have a fully automated garment factory. We’re looking for a way to compete with Vietnam and Bangladesh in the supply chain of garments across the world. “And I am optimistic that with the success we have recorded, between now and the next six months machines will have arrived from Turkey and we will return to commission them.

“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for coming to Abia to commission the Ariaria International Power Plant, we’re also doing something to ensure Geometric Power kicks off.

“I am optimistic that very soon, Aba will have uninterrupted power supply through Geometric and Ariaria International Power Plant”.

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