The Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has disclosed that local manufacturers of shoes and leather products export at least one million shoes to Europe on a weekly basis, and that Abia state was happy that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has approved the garment making industry of the Made-in-Aba sector.
The governor who spoke yesterday at the 4th Made-in-Aba Trade Fair holding in Abuja the nation’s capital also confirmed there are 15,000 shoe makers in Aba, who produce 300,000 shoes per day, and that one million of the shoes find their way to Europe and other parts of the world on a weekly basis; and that the exports are estimated at about N1 billion weekly.
On his part, the originator of the Trade Fair, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, from Abia South, explained that the project was designed to promote Nigeria and to grow the country, and also expressed his delight that the idea was fast spreading across the country, noting that the idea was not welcomed in 2013 when he introduced the idea: “When we started in 2013, it was not fashionable to promote Made-in-Aba or Made-in-Nigeria goods. I thank the Senate President and my colleagues who supported us to stage last year’s edition after which we passed a motion to encourage local manufacturing and then, we also passed an amendment to the Procurement Act.” Senator Abaribe also thanked the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) for being committed to the idea of promoting made-in-Nigeria, and also encouraged other lawmakers to situate their zonal intervention projects in SMEDAN. Also speaking at the event, the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umar Radda declared that small and medium enterprises were responsible for 84 per cent of the Nigerian labour workforce:
“In Nigeria, SMEDAN/NBS survey, 2014 estimated a total of 37 million MSMEs. These contribute total employment of 59.7 million persons (or 84%) of Nigeria Labour force, 48 % to nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 7.3% to exports respectively.” According to Dr Radda, 98 per cent of the MSMEs are micro enterprises, and employ less than ten persons. Radda continued that SMEDAN has taken it upon itself to help grow its capacity to enable Nigeria realise her economic goals. Dr Radda also thanked Senator Abaribe for initiating the effort aimed at promoting Made-in-Nigeria, and also remarked that trade fairs generally facilitate direct customer-to-contacts as well as boost sales. He however declared that so far, over 400 enterprises have showcased their products in the trade fair, and that with an average of 200 persons visiting each day, the fair was considered good and successful.
Meanwhile the 4th Made-in-Aba Trade Fair holding in Abuja was declared open by The Senate President, Bukola Saraki. In his remark, Dr Saraki said that what Nigeria as a country needed at the moment more than ever, was full recognition of the Igbo people of the South East geo-political zone of the country. The Senate President, who spoke through the Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah remarked that the ingenuity of the Igbo would have enhanced Nigeria’s production capacity over the years, and that Nigeria as a country was paying the price for neglecting the creative prowess of the Igbo:
“If there is anything this country needs now, it is the Igbo. Nigeria needs the Igbo’s technological advancement now. We are paying the price of ignoring the creativity of Ndigbo in the past.” According to him, the decision of governments over the years to neglect the productive instinct of the Igbo had led to the backward state of the economy, adding that “In God’s wisdom, recession has come to force us to look inwards.”
Senator Saraki, added that the upper chamber would continue to do everything to promote made in Nigeria goods, and that the senate had taken it upon itself from 2016 to amend the Procurement Act to ensure that the local manufacturers benefited from the over N2 trillion government expenditure on procurement:
“With the amendment of the Public Procurement Act, which has passed final reading in the Senate, and is making its way through the House of Representatives, we are in the process of making it easier for manufacturers and entrepreneurs around the country to benefit from the over N2 trillion in government procurement contracts. “Through this challenge, which is still on-going, we hope to identify goods, services and other products that can be matched with investors and government agencies, to further the plight of our home-grown businessmen and women”.
Senator Saraki concluded, “On our part, we in the Nigerian Senate, and the National Assembly as a whole, will continue to do everything within our mandate and power to ensure that our domestic manufacturers and service providers have the enabling environment that they need to thrive. I believe in Made-in-Nigeria, I believe in Made-in-Aba. The possibilities ahead of us are endless.”
It may be worthy to mention that “The Made-in-Aba Trade Fair in Abuja” is a zonal intervention project of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, representing Abia South senatorial zone.
From our side, we congratulate the federal government of Nigeria for the recent approval of the garment making industry of the Made-in-Aba sector. We also congratulate the National Assembly for the amendment of the Public Procurement Act; we also thank the Abia state governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu for his efforts, the initiator of the programme Senator Abaribe for the beautiful vision, SMEDAN and all stakeholders. We also pray that this noble vision will be sustained, even as our national ingenuity receives world acclamation. The time to think and act is now; these are life and business essentials, so let’s keep thinking clearly. Thank you for reading and do have a beautiful day!
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