ABIA State governor Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is set to revolutionize the production of shoes in the state with the multi-million dollar Aba Automated Shoe Factory, when it becomes fully operational.
The factory, equipped with the modern shoe producing machines, has an installed production capacity of 5,000 pair of shoes daily, which amounts to about two million pairs of shoes annually.
In addition to shoes, the factory will produce other leather works like bags, belts, wallets.
According to the Technical Partner, Mr. Osaro Ekonweren, test runs would start by mid-August while actual production would commence in mid-September.
Ekonweren, told newsmen after the inauguration of the Board by the governor that by December shoes from the factory would have gained ground in every market.
Ikpeazu charged the board to run the company as a business and not as a government parastatal.
Ekonweren promised the board that shoes produced in the factory would dominate West African markets and beyond and commended the governor for his foresight in establishing the Shoe Factory.
The Executive Director of Operations, Mr Chinenye Nwaogu, said that “the factory will be run solely on basis of professionalism inspired by commercial expediency.”
He said that the 30 shoemakers sent to China by the governor for training will form the initial technical staff of the factory, while emphasis would be placed on training more operators.
At the inauguration at the seven-member Board, Ikpeazu, mandated the Board to consolidate Abia as the powerhouse of leather works in Nigeria and West Africa.
The governor said that the objective of the automated shoe factory was to cause a paradigm shift from the old form of shoe production and key into the evolving dynamics of shoe production within global standards.
The Board Chairman, Mr Mark Atasie, said that Abia already has a name in the global leather market.
Atasie said a World Bank Report holds that Aba houses over 100, 000 shoemakers and promised Abia would consolidate her position in the leather and garment sector in the country.