Abia Giant Strides In Trade And Commerce.

By Kennedy Onyenma

The place of Abia State as one dominant in trade and commerce is indisputable but what has lacked over the years is either the will to drive the raw inner potentials or the vehicle to deliver the obviously obscured talents unto global cynosure. Interestingly, we have seen measurable improvements on the attention given to the Small and Medium Enterprises in Abia State, especially, since the advent of Okezie Victor Ikpeazu PhD as Governor.

Shortly after his inauguration in 2015 Dr Ikpeazu created the Ministry of Small, Medium Enterprises Development.It was the first of its kind in Nigeria so, to the cynic, it looked vague and unambitious. As usual, critics of the government went to town professing doom!

But where are we today? Presently, we have an SME hub that is more enlightened, motivated and, more than ever before, confident and result oriented.But for few manifest constraints the Aba business man, in particular, would have comfortably taken its pride of place in the international business scene. Regardless, they are making verifiable progress.

Recently at Aba Sports club and Abiapoly respectively, venues of the first ever Enyimba Business Fair, the Executive Governor of Abia State, represented by his deputy Rt. Hon.Dr. Ude Oko Chukwu  flagged off a three day Business Fair tagged “Enyimba Business Fair”. The Fair, which was the first in Abia State, was organised by the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Devt in collaboration with Zenith Bank PLC, and Fashion promoter “Virtual Xchange Limited” (owners of “Fashion One”) Their aim was to provide a platform that  the SMEs in Aba will showcase their ingenuity.

Although the Fair was planned for three days, the response of Aba business men and women coupled with the success recorded in the event will linger in the mind for a long time. The mood was not only electric, the organization was also superb just as the shared knowledge, from the Resource persons and the participants, was invaluable. As the Governor remarked, the Fair would surely encourage socio-economic growth: boost wealth creation, reduce poverty rate and increase job creation.

The quality of goods and services displayed at the Fair proper evinced the fact that Enyimba is truly the industrial hub of Abia State, the Entrepreneur and SME capital of Nigeria as well as the Japan of modern Africa.

The Governor further disclosed that the Abia State Marketing and Quality Assurance Board, created in 2015, will ensure that the products from Aba are tailored towards standard in line with international best practices.

The Governor also used the opportunity, provided by the Business Fair, to remind Abians that the state Governor is signatory to a 1 billion naira SME development matching fund from the Bank of Industry(BOI) since 2016.A partnership the government has already provided its N500million  counterpart stake. The fund, according to the Governor, is for lending to entrepreneurs and SMEs from Abia State.

To walk his talk the Governor offered to assist 200 SMEs register their  businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), since that is a criteria for securing loans and grants available to the sector.

 Indeed the vision of the government in creating the MSMED, as close gap for youth unemployment, empowerment and enhancement of the State GDP, is highly rewarding.

The luxurious Investment House built by the Government of Ikpeazu has turned into a one-stop shop lately.Staff of the Ministry are equiped and trained to facilitate the Ease of doing Business for SMEs in and around Abia State.The gesture has in turn bridged the gap between the MDAs of Government and the Entrepreneurs within the state.

Abians can take advantage of these laudable turn key interventions, of the Government, by reaching out to the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development(MSMED) Umuahia for proper guidance. 

Abia is for Trade and Commerce on one hand. Governor Ikpeazu understands to that extent hence his resilience. As the Visionary he interpret his Vision and determines the Mission. A bystander may not understand but nevertheless has a chance to seek knowledge about the thrust of the Ikpeazu Government.

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