The Association of Leather and Allied Industrialists of Nigeria (ALAIN), an umbrella body of shoe, belt and bag makers in Nigeria, have advised the federal government to increase capacity of artisans in the finished leader sector, by providing them with equipment, to enable them control the West African shoe market.
Ken Anyanwu, national secretary, ALAIN, who made the appeal in an interview with BusinessDay SUNDAY in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, stated that such support from the federal government would create wealth and curb youth restiveness.
He noted that providing artisans with modern equipment that are not readily available in the country would help them to improve on their product quality, as well as, increase their production capacity.
“I call on the federal government to source machines for artisan shoe manufacturers in the country.
“If such support is given, it will encourage more youths to venture into shoe production and also reduce the number of unemployed youths in the country.
“Some of these machines are fabricated here in Aba, like the soul-press machine.
“Government can empower youths with soul-press machine, while the heavy duty machines, like cutting machine, toe lasting machine and the back counters could also be provided on hire purchase.
“We have tried to help ourselves, through cooperatives, but it is not working for us. So, if a group of individuals are given one machine, they would be made to pay for it. If about 10,000 people are assisted, it will improve the sector”, he stated.
Anyanwu warned that if nothing is done to scale up shoe production in Nigeria, other serious minded African countries would take the market from them, a development he observed would generate more problems for the country, because more youths would be thrown out of work.