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Shoemakers: Why Abia Government Should Reconsider Inviting Foreign Investors

BellaNaija.com

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Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

Shoemakers in Ariaria Market, Aba, have expressed concern that invitation of a Chinese investor may stifle local entrepreneurs.

NAN reports that the Abia Government in April 2017, announced that a Chinese Investor has agreed to set up a $1.5bn shoe industry in Aba.

Some shoemakers in separate interviews with NAN on Saturday in Aba, said the arrangement would not work in their favour, as they lacked the capacity to compete with the well established shoe manufacturing company.

Ikedi Ohaeto, one of the local entrepreneurs, said it is not proper for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who is championing made-in-Aba products to shop for an investor from abroad.

He stressed that what the governor ought to do, is to empower local entrepreneurs to acquire machines.

“If the Chinese arrives with his machines and coupled with cheap labour, how can we compete with him producing with bare hands? I am not too sure that Aba shoemaking industry will survive long after the Chinese arrives to establish his shoe factory here. We need foreign investors but not in this way or this sector in Abia,” Ohaeto said.

Another shoemaker, Chinbueze Onyeizu, said that the governor should change his mind on bringing the Chinese to Aba to produce shoes.

He said that rather than bring the Chinese, government should buy machines for them to boost their production, and give them time to repay the cost of the machines.

Onyeizu noted that the idea of bringing the Chinese investor in the area of shoe production with machines to compete with people producing with bare hands would be counter-productive for the Aba shoe industry.

Another shoemaker, Ken Ora, also stressed the need for government’s intervention to enable them buy the machines.

He noted that the Umukalika Industrial City, that will house the Shoe, Finished Leather Products and Garment clusters, need to be adequately equipped with industrial machines.

Ora argued that for the industrial city to be without machines would be like sending a man to work without equipment.

“If the shoemakers that would be located at Umukalika do not have machines, how can they compete with the Chinese coming with machines and other advantages? Again, the machines we need cannot be purchased individually, because we do not have the funds to do that and so we look up to government to help us. If Abia Government can buy machines and recoup the money later , does it make business sense to bring in a Chinese competitor, recouping the fund from will be harder,” he queried.

16 Comments

  1. Amaa

    June 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    The Chinese have shown that they are parasites. Any where they do business the destroy the environment and get the local out of business if you want to buy technology from them fine but do not bring them to Aba

    • Lacey

      June 10, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Trust me @Amaa, Aba shoe makers do not need Chinese technology or expertise!!!
      Our leaders don’t just use their brains!!!
      The Chinese are very domineering, you bring them into any thing, they want to take over! I have worked with them on projects, they want to steal your idea and would never let you on theirs!!! So if this ? Ikpeazu or whatever his name is called, knows what he is doing, he better listen to the shoe makers!!!

  2. nene

    June 10, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    there should be a way the govt can partner with the locals, or at least get the chinese to transfer their expertise to the locals and go.

  3. blackbeatle

    June 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    i totally agree with the aba shoe makers ..you see that they are very intelligent

  4. The Real Oma

    June 10, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Why can’t the govt give this deeper thought? Not everyone outsource, sometimes build up local capacity.

  5. The Real Oma

    June 10, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    I know for a fact the shoemaker in Aba are extremely talented and it hurts that they have not being empowered before now.
    Abia govt, please don’t kill this promising industry…

  6. Toks

    June 10, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    I fear this invasion of the Chinese on Nigerian soil. If we are not careful, they will colonise us and our ignorant leaders will not do anything about it! We should learn from history oh! A word is enough for the wise!

  7. Bowl

    June 10, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Sometimes, I wonder if these rulers have working brain cells at all! In no other place in Nigeria is the evidence of many years of bad governance glaring as it is in Aba. Just when we think a human being has been elected, we have another buffon!

    • JK

      June 10, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Nice input. But Buffon(Juventus) or Buffoon..lols.
      I guess you meant the latter(typo). Again, nice input.

  8. Look

    June 10, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    I have met with Chinese businessmen. They are smart, crafty and cunning. They also have lots of funds to dominate any business or industry they venture into. Please government, do a rethink. Bring in the machines and the technicians to train our men on how to use them. All celebrity igbos speak up. Use your platforms.

    • Andre Cooper

      June 11, 2017 at 12:28 am

      ?

  9. nnenne

    June 11, 2017 at 12:16 am

    What Aba traders and shoe makers need is an enabling environment…
    good motorable roads, good drinking water ,electricity, loans etc.
    Don’t kill their ingenuity please!

  10. Mar

    June 11, 2017 at 7:33 am

    One way Nigerian people can fight this is by using your money. Instead of buying the Chinese made products no matter how cheap they are, support Aba made shoes even if they are 5K or even 10K more expensive. We simply stifle the Chinese industry and supports the aba shoemakes.

  11. Honestina

    June 11, 2017 at 9:07 am

    After witnessing the havoc the Chinese are causing in GH, I can really feel the pain of the shoe makers. They shouldn’t just talk, they should put into writing their concerns to the Governor or request to see him for serious deliberation.
    A peaceful protest can also get their concerns addressed. I pray the Governor is a discerning man and listens to his people.

  12. Tosin

    June 12, 2017 at 2:06 am

    Honestly I get the issue on both sides but truth be told we need a shoe manufacturing factory in Nigeria.. This is necessary for local show designers to PROSPER. People like Gbemisoke would actually manufacture her shoes here because of subsidized prices of course. Truth is this. Absolutely shoe makers need to be educated and very much exposed. Because asides from quality, BEAUTY is essential and their products lack variability in designs. Being a regular shoe maker and one who designs and creates beautiful shoes are 2 totally different things. Look at it closely.. For example of fabric making factories come over to this country, the importation market will slowly die. Thing is we need these factories in different states to attract development because guys face it. Outside, Lagos, Abuja, PH (a state capital if I might add), Calabar( another state capital), how many states can we define as business city hubs? These factories and large businesses will somewhat attract industrialization to different states. Sorry to Ekiti State people but mehn that state na so so Bush. It needs something of this nature. Just giving my 2 cents

  13. Tosin

    June 12, 2017 at 2:09 am

    There needs to be a way a fair deal that will benefit the people of that state, can be made. And even the Aba market dealers can benefit. But many are too stuck in their old methods they need exposure on. What is obtainable in the fashion industry. Cause whether the like it or not. They are included. So itz not just a craft as they take it.

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