Artisans, who are key stakeholders in the planned development of the Aba Leather and Garment Cluster, at Umunneato, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia, on Thursday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to immediately commence the development of the project.
Total Value Integrated Services Nig. Ltd, the cluster’s developer, and the artisans who would uptake the shops to be built, signed the agreement at a ceremony in Hotel De’ La Paix, Aba.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the up taking artisans comprise the Leather and Allied Product Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMAAS) and the Union of Tailors and Fashion Designers of Abia (UTFD).
Speaking at the event, LEPMAAS President, Mazi Okechukwu Williams, said that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had ordered the stakeholders to commence work on the site two months ago, but that it was delayed to set somethings right.
Williams, who said the journey had not been easy for LEPMAAS members and the garment union members, thanked God and governor Ikpeazu for making the process a reality.
“We are here today kicking off the development of the leather and garment cluster, I am happy. The ball is now in our court and we should be committed to making this project successful.
“Lots of agreements have been made and today we are going to put our hands to paper to sign the final MoU.
“By signing this MoU, we are giving Integrated Services the power to go to site immediately just as it also gives us powers as partners”, he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Mr Cletus Mbah, who represented the governor, said the cluster would make the artisans and their children shop owners for life.
He said constructing the cluster would gulp over N30 billion and would have facilities, such as Police post, banks, a fire service post, CCTV cameras, hotels and other related services.
Mbah promised that Ikpeazu will inaugurate the project before he leaves office in 2023, adding that the place would give the artisans the opportunity to gain what they had been losing in the past.
The CEO of Total Value Integrated Services Nig. Ltd, Dr Chris Simon, said the company had received approval by Ikpeazu to develop the cluster that would host 15,000 shops.
He said they had worked with the industry ministry to ensure that payment for shop ownership would be easy for the off-takers, as the the payments would be spread across four years, urging them to, therefore, key into the project so as to ensure it is a success. (NAN)