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Ikpeazu attracts Chinese investors to Abia

Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State

From Patrick Egwu, Enugu

Abia State Government has begun discussions with a Chinese firm to establish an industrial city in Abia State to produce shoes, garments, electronics, electrical fittings, computers, mobile phones, among other items.

The deal worth $1.5 billion, would create 10,000 jobs.

In addition, the firm will train 60 Abians on the firm’s activities at Huajian Group headquarters in Dongguan, Guangzhou.

Another 140 will also be mobilized within months to go for other specialized training totaling 200. They would be supervisors and line managers of different Huajian Group activities in Abia State.

A team of experts from Huajian Group visited Abia, Sunday, to work with a team from government to commence documentation, company registration, obtaining necessary permits and land preparation for ground-breaking of the project within the shortest possible time.

The industrial city would target 80 per cent export to meet existing Huajian International orders and 20 per cent for the Nigerian market.

The move is also in line with the new campaign of the state government, tagged, “Make-in-Aba”, aimed at attracting manufacturing firms from all over the world to manufacture in Aba.

Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, revealed that Abia will soon become the hub of manufacturing in Africa, especially in shoes and garments production, which was part of the fall out of his engagements at the just concluded Governors Investment Forum in China.

Speaking to newsmen at the periodic briefing of his administration, Ikpeazu said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed in the next five weeks by his administration with Huajian Shoe Industry, will among other things, attract a $1.5 billion shoe factory investment to Aba, which would in turn create about 20,000-30,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as improve the expertise of Abia shoe manufacturers.

The governor stated that the state’s promotion campaign for Made-in-Aba brands has now moved to Make-in- Aba. In line with that, the government is opening its doors for innovators, business owners and manufacturers to come and invest in the state under a business-friendly environment.

“We must open our space for people to come and invest in our state. Therefore, our campaign for Made-in- Aba has now graduated to Make-in-Aba. We are now calling people to come and make their products in Aba”, Ikpeazu said.

According to him, 65 to 70 per cent of the output from the new shoe factory would be for export to meet already established market thereby indirectly promoting the Made-in-Aba campaign.

The governor disclosed that while in China he visited the company that produces the machines for automated shoe production to have a first-hand knowledge of the production, packaging and handling processes.

According to him, this was to enable Abia manufacturers acquire their own automated shoe production lines that will support improved output and global standardization.

He explained that the rationale behind the visit was to allow manufacturers access to the state, move the campaign of “Made in Aba” to “Make in Aba” and allow investors to reside and make their products in the state, create more employment opportunities for teeming qualified Abians, scale up the standard of shoe making in our environment and bring in new machines that will be manned by citizens of the state.

He expressed the readiness of the state to compete favourably with China, noting that he desires that Abia becomes front runner in manufacturing and commerce in Africa. The governor called on Abians to brace up and be part of making things happen in the state by putting on their thinking cap.

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