Made-In-Aba: Ikpeazu's govt lacks Vision & Direction - Shoemaker tells his story
Since the emergence of Dr. Ikpeazu as the governor of Abia State, he has been championing the Made-In-Aba project, and lots of Abians has commended him for such a move.
But the truth is, Aba manufacturers are indeed suffering, they need adequate attention from the government, but unfortunately the past and the present government in Abia are not helping matters, instead, they are making it worse, by painting them green outside, while inside, the manufacturers are in pain.
Interview carried out in the Bakassi Shoe Plaza, the home of all manufacturers of Shoe and leathers in Aba proved that they are being neglected.
It's true that Aba can manufacture all things, if given the chance and the right tools - but manufacturers lack good environment and steady power supply.
Mr. Uzoma, a shoemaker, who owns a shop in the shoe plaza narrated his stories, according to him, they are in need of government interventions, but they have none.
Abacityblog correspondent meets him as he sat in his shop, not working, probably waiting for the light or something else.
When accosted for a brief interview, Mr Uzoma said; as you can see, we are not working, we are waiting for light to get to work, lack of steady power supply are contributing to our suffering, apart from inadequate environment.
You see no light, but at the month end they will bring forth a bill that if you look at it, you will ask yourself what exactly are you doing here - you have no light but you are paying bills.
Ask if he is benefiting from the Made-In-Aba project being championed by Governor Ikpeazu's administration.
He said; the truth is, the project is a good one, I commend the governor for that.
But not all of us are benefiting, In-fact, the most beneficiaries are Ikpeazu's kinsmen. We only read it in newspaper, how he went to China, how he took Aba artisans to Turkey, and how a military firm ordered for 50 thousand pairs of boot - but none reach us.
Look at our line, I can tell you that we have never seen it here, Mr. Uzoma added.
When asked about his opinion on the coming of the Chinese leather company that will be manufacturing 5000 pairs of shoes every day with ultra modern machines.
He said; I read it in the media that the governor sealed a deal with a Chinese company and I was overjoyed, but I became saddened when I read in the media that their products is the same with the ones we manufactured here.
You see, we do manufacture shoes here, clothes and plastics, etc. What we need is a better environment and ultra modern machines to help us fit in, help us compete with international standard.
Bringing a company that will produce same products we manufacture here, is nothing but to kill our local brands, we don't need them, they can only come and install those machines, teach us how to use it, while we use it and make more leather works.
....cut in: But the government said the company will employ 10,000 indigent of Abians?
I read that also, but even if they wanted to employ, only Ikpeazu's brothers and sisters will also be employed, the government is full of nepotism, despite he is trying its best, but he lacks vision and direction for signing such a deal, it's never a welcome development.
I commend him when he does a better job, but this one is off the book.