Thirty shoe cobblers in Abia State will leave for the Peoples Republic of China on Friday to acquire more knowledge in their field.
The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu on Monday January 1, during a state broadcast to the people of the state announced that 30 shoemakers from Abia would be departing for the People’s Republic of China on Friday, 5.
Ikpeazu stated that the 30 persons whose majority, The Nation gathered are from Ariaria International market, Aba were the 1st batch of 100 shoemakers from Abia State to undergo intensive training in automated shoemaking technology in China and stated that the state government upon the return of the trainees would procure the full range of equipments required to set up an Abia State Automated Shoe Factory in Aba.
The governor added that the youths would form the nucleus of the workforce in the shoe Factory which shall be commissioned before June 2018 and disclosed that the shoe factory shall “enable Abia State consolidate its status as the pre-eminent destination for leatherworks in Nigeria and shall serve as an enabler of the diligent work the manual producers have been doing over the years.
“The prognosis indicates that 2018 will be better than 2017 in terms of our business climate. We must take full advantage of the Federal Government Executive Order No.3 which underscores the need to patronize Made-In-Nigeria as a priority. We remain grateful to Ford Foundation and TBWA Concepts for placing Abia and our Small-Scale Manufacturing Skills on the World Map through CNN Adverts. The provision of steady power to some parts of Ariaria International Market through the Rural Electrification Agency will catalyze rapid development and enhance the economy of our artisans”.
The governor used the opportunity to inform the people of the state on the programmes of the state government geared towards infrastructural improvement in the state especially roads which he said was to ease the stress of motorists and commuters in connecting the city centers and the hinterlands.
The governor who stated that the state has been paying its counterpart funds which he noted has unlocked hundreds of millions of dollars in hitherto trapped funds for the development of the state and added that it has re-established a robust working relationship with International Donor Agencies who he said have were keen on working with the state government to move the state forward.
On payment of pension arrears and distribution of the recently released Paris fund to the state by the federal government Ikpeazu said “I make bold to state that no Governor is more committed to the payment of salaries and pensions than I am. When we received our bailout funds from the Federal Government, I set up a Committee made up of our fund managers and the Labour Unions to manage the disbursement.
“I did not tell them what to do. They worked out a modality for the disbursement of the funds and oversaw its implementation. Our novel concept earned us commendation from the ICPC in a period when other states were being accused of diverting the funds.
“Again, in the 2nd tranche of Paris Club Refund, N5.7 Billion was released to Abia State and I handed over the entire amount to Abia State workers. No other Governor did what I did. Irrespective of other areas crying for funds to ensure rapid development, I gave 100% of the money meant for every sector of Abia State to workers alone. That was a signpost of my commitment to the welfare of workers in Abia State.
“Another batch of the Paris Club Refund has been released to Abia State and again, I have directed the release of a substantial portion to offset salary and pension arrears. Presently, all Ministries have received their December 2017 Salaries. I am aware that some Parastatals are in arrears of 2 Months. I am optimistic that with the release of additional N3.2B, most of the issues will become history. I urge the public to continually verify the true status of workers salaries in Abia State before passing comments”.