Senate President Ahmed Lawan says the National Assembly will help Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO) to get funding and patronage from government agencies.
Lawan made the promise on Thursday in Aba during the inauguration of the company located at Umukalika, off Obikabia Junction, Ogbor Hill, Aba, Abia.
“This project, in addition to providing employment in local communities and in Abia directly, will produce more employment opportunities indirectly for the leather industry in Kano and other places in Nigeria.
“I believe that this project deserves every possible support from Federal Government agencies, the Bank of Industry and the Ministry of Industry.
“Indeed, the Central Bank of Nigeria must be looking in this direction so that you can expand.
“While we have 120 youths being employed here already, one year after, we should double and quadruple the number of youths being employed directly.
“That will require providing more resources for more production lines and I am sure that as one of you now, I belong to Abia myself, we are going to push for more support for this particular industry because it is a special one,” Lawan said.
In a speech, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu said with the inauguration of the outfit, the state was tying the loose ends of production and marketing of Aba products.
He said the country could revitalise its economy and be self-sufficient in what it needs by promoting and patronising Nigerian-made products.
He regretted that Nigeria remained the only country in the world that relied on thenimportation of staple food, which gulps about $22 million daily.
“The shoe business all over the world in 2020 was worth $250 billion and of this, Nigeria contributed $96 billion.
“I am seeking how we can get a greater chunk of this market share going forward.
“The penetration in the shoe industry today is about 2.5 per cent and it is expected to climb to about 23 per cent by 2026.
“We then asked what are we going to do to be part of this growing shoe ecosystem and our response is ENASCO,” Ikpeazu said.
Accordingnto him, the company hopes to push out 5,000 pairs of shoes daily from the date of its inauguration.
He said that in 2020 during the COVID-19 period, ENASCO received order to supply shoes to the same American shoe company that gets supplies from China because it (China) could not supply them.
He said that Abia was encouraged to play in the footwear ecosystem because it had the capacity to be a big player, if the government was committed to it.
Earlier, the Chairman of ENASCO, Mr Mac Atasie, said the company was the first world class automated shoe and leather products company in Aba with top of the range, end-to-end shoe product equipment and machinery.
Atasie said the vision of the company in the next five years was to be one of the most recognised leather product companies in Africa and the world.