Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
Mass production of military boots and cortina for school use is expected to commence in Abia state by the end of the year following the proposed automated shoe factory to be established at the commercial city if Aba.
Aba is already famous for production of foot wears, bags, belts and other leather products by creative artisans working in shops located at Ariaria international market and other locations in Abia.
But Governor Okezie Ikpeazu felt that there was need to embark on large scale production of shoes in order to meet the increasing demand for locally made products, hence the idea of automated production.
He told journalists at government lodge Aba, where he said imported components of the machines for the factory would be ready by December.
“Everything we need to set up the shoe factory is ready,” he enthused, adding that production of shoes would commence in earnest by December.
The governor stated that the automated shoe factory would specifically concentrate on production of military boots and Cortina, “in the meantime,” while other types of footwear could be added in the long run.
No fewer than 30 young men and women from Abia were sent to China last year where they were trained in automated production of shoes.
Ikpeazu, said that the 30 persons who have since returned from the China training programme would be fully engaged in the Aba automated shoe factory.
He said with large scale production of military boots, the automated shoe factory at Aba would not only meet the needs of Nigeria’s military and paramilitary organisations, but take good slice of the international market.
According to him, the company in China which is collaborating with Abia to set up the shoe factory and training of the personnel, produces 34,000 pairs per day.
He noted that the Chinese company is presently overstretched to meet the demands placed by its international customers for military boots.