…technical partner amazed by quality of machines
All is set for the commencement of production at a new automated shoe factory built by the Abia State government in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the Southeastern Nigeria.
The factory known as the Enyimba Automated Shoe Factory is set to start test runs in the first two weeks of August, while the actual production will start by the second week of September.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who initiated the idea of the factory, formally inaugurated a Seven Member Management Board for the newly established Enyimba Automated Shoe Factory a few days ago. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, Ikpeazu charged the board to run the factory like a proper business and consolidate the position of Aba and Abia State as a global hub for shoe and other leather products. Ikpeazu said that the whole objective is to lead out a paradigm shift in the old way of shoe production and key into the new dynamics of shoe production with acceptable global standards.
The governor said that all equipment in the factory are brand new and one of the best in the world. He added that the factory is expected to churn out close to two million pairs of shoes annually. Members of the Board include Mr. Mark Atasie (Chairman), Mr. Kito Dominic, (Managing Director), Mr. Chinenye Nwaogu (Executive Director, Operations), Ada Oseiza (Executive Director, Marketing), Mr Osaro Ekonweren (Technical Partner), Ide John Udeagbala and Mr. Chimaeze Nwafor.
The governor charged the new Managing Director of the Factory, Mr. Kito Dominic and other Board members to bring to bear their wealth of experience in developing a brand that will compete favourably in the competitive global market. Board Chairman, who said that Abia already has a name in the global leather market, said the factory is a good move for expanding the commercial frontiers of the Aba Shoe Industry.
Atasie, who said that Aba houses over one hundred thousand shoe makers, promised that they all will be committed to productivity, professionalism and profitability of the new move. Speaking to journalists after inauguration, the Technical Partner of the Enyimba Automated Shoe Factory, Mr. Osaro Ekonweren said the factory has the most updated shoe producing machines in Nigeria.
“We were amazed and impressed by what we saw on ground. Our group has been into shoe production in Nigeria for over a decade now and I must confess that the machines we saw there when we went on inspection cannot be found anywhere in the country. We use machines in our own company but we have is no where near what is at the Aba Shoe Factory,” he said.
Ekonweren said that at present, the factory has an installed capacity for the production of 5000 pairs of shoes every day which translates to about two million pairs of shoes annually. He said that the current production capacity of the factory has facilities for expansion and assured that they plan to actually expand the current capacity within the next one year of their take off.
Ekonweren eulogized the foresight of Governor Ikpeazu for the establishment of such a gigantic boost to the economy stressing that the factory will change the face of shoe production in Nigeria. He said that his organisation was selected as Technical Partners for the factory based on a proven and track record of quality automated shoe production spanning over 10 years.
Ekonweren stated that products from the Enyimba Automated Shoe Factory will not just be for the local market in Nigeria, but will be sold across Africa, stressing that the products will be well received by the already available markets.
He assured that the factory will be run as a professional and commercial outfit with clear opportunities for value addition and job creation. Ekonweren said by December 2020, Enyimba Automated Shoe Factory would have gained ground in the local and international markets, adding that it will also produce other leather works like bags, belts, wallets, etc.
Executive Director, Operations of the factory, Mr. Chinenye Nwaogu said that with the new management structure in place, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has sent a clear message that the factory will be run solely on a basis of professionalism inspired by commercial expediency. He said that the 30 shoe makers who were sent to China by the governor for training on the use of machines in shoe production will form the initial technical staff of the factory while there will be huge emphasis on training for more operators.
Nwaogu said that the apparent delay in the start of production at the factory was because the Governor insisted that a professional organization must be found to run the place and the process took some time, coupled with the pandemic of COVID-19 which shut down the country for about three months.