Abia stakes N1 billion in industrial cluster infrastructure

Okezie Ikpeazu

Abia State Governor, Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, has disclosed that direct injection of fund into Aba local industry space since he assumed office has exceeded N1billion.

Ikpeazu, who was recently announced as the Excellence and Business Innovative Governor of the Year at the fourth Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award, added that Africa no longer undermines, the contributions of Aba manufacturers, especially in shoes and bag production.

According to him, Aba has become a beautiful bride to industrialists due to improved infrastructure in the state.“Knowing the importance of road infrastructure in driving investment and facilitating ease of doing business in the state, we flagged off over 30 road projects with over 25 already completed.

The governor stated that he also ensured that security in the state was guaranteed for investors.“Recently, we played host to 30 investors from China, who come to key into state government’s investment drive through the setting up of a one-stop-shop, where entrepreneurs can showcase their wares and investors can have access to them

“Power supply vendors have also taken advantage of the improved quality of locally manufactured goods to seek collaboration in power supply”, the governor stated.He further used the occasion of the award ceremony to promote locally made products, stressing that made in Aba is all about the creative ingenuity of an average Aba person.

He frowned that in the past, citizens, including those in leadership positions could not identify with Aba products.He however expressed delight that the negative psyche of Aba entrepreneurs has been defeated and the people proudly label their products ‘Made in Aba’.He attributed the new development to the encouragement given to local manufacturers by his administration, noting that some of the products now meet international standard.

According to him, the state has concluded plans to sponsor 30 young men to China for technology transfer in dress making.The governor held that for Nigeria to revamp its industrial sector, there was need for bye-laws enforcing patronage of local products.

“The consumption pattern of Nigerians should begin to change. I believe in the capacity of the people to drive change.” The governor therefore dedicated the award to striving entrepreneurs in the remote parts of Aba, including those in Ariaria Market.

Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Diko U. Radda, who delivered the keynote address at the event, blamed the alarming unemployment situation in Nigeria on lack of entrepreneurial orientation among youths.

As a way forward, he called for an introduction into modern education system that would recognize entrepreneurship and self-reliance upon graduation from schools.According to him, the solution to unemployment situation in the country is entrepreneurship.Beyond catching students young, Radda called for synergy among government at all levels in addressing challenges confronting small and medium scale enterprises in the country.

The challenges he stated, include lack of synergy among various tiers of government, multiple taxation, inappropriate technology, dearth of business information as well as lack of data bank.

Another factor militating against the growth of small scale business in the country include low use of information and communications technology.He said: “Low use of ICT in operation has a direct effect on cost of production and makes MSMEs unattractive.”

He went further to list other factors as poor state of infrastructure such as lack of steady power supply, poor state of the roads, lack of water supply poor access to appropriate and affordable workplace as well as lack of finance, which is considered a major constraint to the growth of MSMEs.

The organizer of the Award, Uwabor Joshua, observed that entrepreneurs occupy a central position in a market economy as well as activate and stimulate economic activities.According to him, the economic success of any nation hinges on the ability to encourage and reward entrepreneurial instinct.He stressed that Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award is an exclusive award that seeks to reward excellence among the most committed and dedicated businesses operating in Nigeria.

“The idea behind the award was to imbibe a culture of excellence in young and emerging business leaders and showcase thriving businesses in Nigeria. “It focuses on recognizing outstanding corporate organizations and individuals who have positively impacted the economy of the country.”

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Victor Okezie Ikpeazu
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