• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Otti solicits US co-operation in trade, investment to grow Abia economy

Otti charges steel firm to be labour-friendly to attract govt’s support

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has solicited for support of the United States in promoting trade, investment and other areas of interest in the state.

Otti sought for the support when he received in audience, the Political and Economic Section Chief of the US Consulate, Lagos, Mike Ervin who was in the Abia on a working visit with his team.

Read also: Alex Otti and the task of exorcising Abia of evil spirit of backwardness

He highlighted a number of challenges confronting the state, especially the business sector to include access to finance, power and logistics support in the area of digital economy, among others.

Otti however, stated that the issue of power supply in Aba would soon be over following the forthcoming commissioning of the Geometric Power Plant which would be performed by the Presidency on Monday, 26th February 2024.

Read also: Otti flags-off construction of 67km Umuahia-Uzuakoli-Ohafia road

The Abia governor also said that state prides itself as a major trading and industrial hub in Nigeria, noting that Aba has over 50,000 shoe manufacturers and also very strong in fabrics and garment productions.

He regretted that the State had suffered setbacks in the past due to infrastructural decay, noting that many businesses that hitherto relocated from Aba to other states were gradually returning back to Aba as his administration had in the last 8 months fixed many roads in the state, especially in Aba, the commercial hub of the state.

“In the past, we have suffered quite some set back because of infrastructural decay, you really cannot do much when infrastructure is not there, that is why when we came, we started pursuing the rejuvenation and rehabilitation of infrastructure in particular, roads, drainages, not forgetting security and in the last eight months we have been able to fix many roads in Aba which is also the industrial and trading hub of Abia State.

“You can come in as United States to assist us, if we solve the power problem, then there’s another problem which is access to finance and these days of expensive dollars people are running away from foreign currency funding, but I believe we can sit down and think out process whereby, even if it is for government to provide a guarantee and help against fluctuations in the foreign currency price so that our people can be sure of support that they can pay back,” Otti assured.

Mike Ervin, the Lagos US Consulate Political and Economic Section Chief, who explained that the Consulate covers the 17 Southern States of Nigeria, said their mission was to seek ways to expand bilateral trade and investment and ensure prosperity between the United States and Nigeria.

“As you know in the US Consulate in Lagos we cover the 17 southern states and our top job more than any other, is to seek ways to expand bilateral trade and investment and expand shared prosperity between our people.

“Our people share a long history of partnership and that was highlighted by the visit of our Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken in Nigeria a couple of weeks ago where he spoke very eloquently and strongly on the significance and importance of US-Nigeria bilateral relationship and our desire is to seek ways of expanding that relationship to build prosperity for our people,” he said.

He thanked Governor Otti for opening the doors of Abia State to them to talk about ways they could find opportunities to build shared prosperity for their people, adding, “this is one message Secretary Blinken has been taking around the world.”

The Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Chimezie Ukaegbu; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Digital Economy, Chibuzor Elizabeth Chijioke and the Technical Assistant to the Governor, Charles Egeonu were present during the visit.