SME:100 Nigerian shoemakers billed for training in China


From Patrick Egwu, Enugu

SME

Abia State government has announced plans to send 100 shoemakers from the Aba finished leather cluster to China to further sharpen their skills.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, revealed this, at the Government Lodge, Aba, during a meeting with Aba shoe makers under the aegis of Omenka shoemakers Aba, to brief them on the gains of the proposed $1.5 billion shoe factory, by Huajian Shoe Factory Guangdong, China in Abia.

The governor advised them to take advantage of the project to improve their skills and learn new ways of doing business.

According to the governor, “any moment from now, 100 shoemakers from Aba, would be traveling to China, for further training in modern ways of shoemaking that would impact positively on their output and quality.”

While promising to protect the business interest of Aba people, he also warned that the government would do everything to counter attempts to frustrate its efforts in attracting foreign investments into the state.

“I invited you here to brief you on the outcome of my recent trip to China, where I took our Made-in-Aba campaign to. I must commend you people for holding forth strongly in the leather and garment industry in Nigeria.

“I promised when I was campaigning to be governor in 2015 that I will promote Made-in- Aba goods. I have been doing that and I am ready to take it a notch higher to Make-in-Aba.
“When I went to China, I met with a major investor in the shoe industry, who indicated interest to invest $1.5 billion in our economy, and the investor- Zhang Huarong of Huajian Shoe Factory Guangdong, China, visited Abia State last Sunday and I took him to some industrial locations within Aba, where we think he can site his industry.

“As those in the business, I must brief you and also assure you that his coming will not in any way affect your business negatively.

“As your brother and your governor, it is my duty to protect your interest and that I must do. But let me also challenge you to take advantage of his coming to improve and upgrade your processes and systems in the industry.

“This government will do everything to protect your business interest and also do everything to thwart any plan to frustrate foreign investment into the State”.

Okechukwu Williams, chairman, Omenka Shoemakers Aba, thanked the governor for making out time to brief them, and also for dousing their fears over the coming of the Chinese investors, which they had thought would take away their businesses.

He also thanked the governor for promoting their products vigorously in an unprecedented manner and promised to take advantage of the coming of the Chinese investors to improve on their business processes and systems with a view to competing favourably.


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