In line with Abia State Government’s burning desire to raise the international standard of Shoes and Related Foot wears Made in Aba, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has put paid to his plans as first set of 30 indigenous artisans have left for China.
The China training will among other things drill the experts in automated shoe making with latest technology to compete with leading international export standards.
According to the state chief executive, the training will gulp about N65million on the first batch of 30 youths for their training which covers artisanal, design and management.
Addressing the contingent during their ceremonial departure at the State House, Umuahia, Governor Ikpeazu averred that the capacity building and human capital development scheme are essential elements of development in the modern world Shoe technology.
The Governor said that lack of automation was a serious drawback for the Aba Artisans who have displayed ingenuity in their trades and that equipping them with it would enable them compete favourably with their counterparts in developed countries and have a share in the international market.
He therefore reminded them to remember that the foundation and essence of their trip to China is God and urged them not to disappoint the state and their families, saying, they should focus squarely on the purpose of their trip to China pay close attention to the machines and everything that would be taught them.
Continuing, he assured that government would be ordering automated shoe equipment end to end on their return from China, hinting further that “I’m sending you to China with a lot of confidence. This is my wish to you that you go to China and conquer for us.’’
He made it clear that why government is sending you to China is to go and learn what had been lacking in the industry so that the sector can grow and become a national revenue earner.
In his briefing, the special adviser to the Governor on Social Investment, Mr Chinenye Nwogu and the senior special assistant to the Governor on Public Communication, Mr Sam Hart, explained that though Aba is renowned in shoe making, it lacks automated shoe making machines which prompted the Governor during his trip to China last April to decide to send Abia youths to learn modern shoe making.
Hart told Business Hilights that the second batch will leave for China as soon as possible until the selected 100 are completed.