Since the coming of this present administration in 2015, the i-can-do-spirit of Abians has never been in doubt. There has been a radical progress and increase in the production of finished goods due to the support and favourable policies laid down for them by the Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu-led government. Abia State, especially Aba, represents the resilience and enterprising spirit of the Igbo nation and serves as a point of convergence of men and cultures. It has provided the highest market for the south-east and south-south geo-political zones in the history of commerce in Nigeria.
A lot of potentials has emanated from the ancient city on daily basis. The local brands are speaking well for them because of the quality of finished products. Aba artisans are well known for their fabrication of equipment and tools, garments, leather products, shoes, belt and bags which have the prospect of competing globally.
The radical progress the Aba brand (made-in-Aba) is witnessing now can only be attributed to the favourable programmes and policies laid down for the SMEs in the state by Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration. The Governor understands the importance of SMEs and the Aba brand not only to the state economy but the nation at large.
Gov. Ikpeazu, has put in place a robust economic development agenda that will encourage production and sustain our locally made goods of which Abia has an amazing advantage and a major source of our strength. Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) are seen as one of the pivots that boost economic growth and development of the state, especially now that diversification has become the sound bit in the country.
It is imperative to mention that for the required growth in SMEs to take effect, the need for innovative marketing and financial and management skill must be put in place; and for a useful business operation and to attract investors.
To this end, Gov. Ikpeazu established another agency, christened “Abia State Marketing and Quality Management Agency (ABSMQMA) headed by Bar. Sam Hart. The Agency has a soul responsibility of marketing all goods and services produced in Abia State as well as setting up and enforcing quality standards in Abia State.
The Agency is also to expand the existing markets and find new markets for all goods produced in the state and as well serve as aggregators for producers and traders based in the state.
Bar. Sam Hart, before his appointment as the Director General (DG), Abia State Marketing and Quality Management Agency (ABSMQMA), was one of the foot soldiers of Gov. Ikpeazu in marketing the Aba brand. Many times, he led delegation of Made-in-Aba producers to meet with the then Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in a bid to urge the Nigerian Senate to mandate Agencies of Government in Nigeria to emulate the Nigeria Military in patronizing made-in-Aba products.
That meeting recorded a huge success and attracted the Nigeria Military to extend their contract for the production of additional 50,000 military boots. Abains in diaspora also keyed into it to promote made-in-Aba products by ordering an initial 1,000 pairs of school shoes and bags for Abia pupils. Bar. Sam Hart knows his onions in the drive for Aba brand and surely, he will deliver.
Finally, there is need to appreciate and encourage Gov. Ikpeazu in his drive towards having a varied and dependable economy in Abia State. There is also need for total collaboration and collective ideas in achieving the Abia of our dream.
© Kingsley Maduforo