from Paul Nwosu
the The march towards greater industrialization in the state of Anambra recently received another notable boost when the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, inaugurated the first joint facilities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) involved in leather processing and active in the shoe sector are manufactured in Ogbunike, Anambra state. The community facilities are located next to the vibrant Ogbunike shoe market cluster with over 2,000 stores and 30,000 MSMEs, especially in the shoe store, and are a joint project of the federal government and the federal state of Anambra. They offer the most modern digital shoe production facilities that MSMEs from the adjacent market cluster and from the southeast could use together. The business plan is structured in such a way that these categories of companies enable the use of state-of-the-art technologies in shoe production and leather processing that they individually could not have afforded. With such facilities, shoe retailers no longer have to travel to Spain, Italy and China to manufacture and import high quality shoes as Ogbunike’s shared facilities have the ability to produce any design and quality of shoes that the local entrepreneurs can offer with.
Before the initiative, the Ogbunike shoe cluster was producing 200 to 400 shoes a month using the old-fashioned technique, which was slow and laborious. But the joint facilities have a dramatically improved capacity to produce 96,000 shoe soles, 44,000 slippers, 40,000 shoes and 22,000 boots for both sexes of all ages each month. This automatically leads to a huge business boom for the surrounding shoe market cluster and beyond as they could easily use modern shoe production technology to outperform their production and start exporting their products.
In order to facilitate business transactions, a âone-stop shopâ is integrated in the communal facilities of Ogbunike, taking into account the small size of the companies concerned, in which all relevant support services and regulatory authorities are housed under one roof so that they can be used. without having to travel long distances, other necessary fringe benefits that every modern business needs to be profitable and grow exponentially. Some of these institutions include the Bank of Industry, which provides single digit loans, and MSME clinics, which provide pinpoint professional solutions to the many challenges MSMEs face.
The Raw Materials Research and Development Council also has a unit that provides advice on raw material procurement and development, while the Corporate Affairs Commission is responsible for registering new companies so that they can be legally recognized. Others include the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, to facilitate the apparent export potential of the shared facilities, and the Standards Organization of Nigeria, to ensure the quality control of the products. Regular training is required for employees, so the Industrial Training Fund is there to participate in the training and retraining of employees to ensure they are familiar with best global practices in running their businesses. Then Federal Inland Revenue Services will collect taxes on behalf of the government, while Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA), a local Anambra small business intermediary, will also pitch there to oversee their clients, who are the main beneficiaries of the project .
Describing the facilities as a milestone, Vice President Osinbajo noted that when the second Niger Bridge, 65 percent completed, and the Onitsha Inland Port final concession, Anambra State, and indeed the southeast, will truly become a strategic industrial and commercial hub of the country. And when you combine this with the Anambra State international cargo airport in Umueri (two kilometers away), you will appreciate Governor Willie Obiano’s foresight in building the airport. Whatever is produced in the joint facilities and other productive clusters across the country can now be exported through the cargo airport.
While the curtain is gradually closing after Governor Obiano’s two successful terms in office, the joint facilities are yet another expression of a well-thought-out political blueprint in the life of his government, which recognizes trade and industry as important pillars of development, among other things. And this he aggressively pursued by promoting the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise, which is the professional mainstay of the population of the Anambra state.
With a wealth of banking experience, he founded the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) in 2014, knowing that a virile MSME sector is the engine of real economic development. This is all the more true in the state of Anambra, where the potential is waiting to be tapped. ASBA has risen to the challenge and has done well so far.
The agency started with a N2 billion credit facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria; N 1 billion for micro businesses and N 1 billion for small and medium-sized businesses at single-digit rates. Measurably, ASBA has successfully funded 10,000 cooperatives, micro-businesses and artisans and provided 300 small and medium-sized enterprises in the state with working capital, making Anambra the fastest growing subnational economy in the country.
Brands such as the famous âAnambra Riceâ, which was named âBest Rice in Africaâ in 2015, and other promising projects have been funded by ASBA. It is on record that 100 percent of all loans disbursed have since flowed back to CBN with the accrued interest. In recognition of this and the resulting rise of the federal state of Anambra to an important industrial area in the state, the federal government honored the state in August 2019 with the award as âBest State for the Promotion of SMEsâ.
The economic advantages of the shared facilities complex Ogbunike for leather processing and shoe production cannot be overstated. The youth of Anambra state have no reason to be restless as the project aims to create jobs and thousands of small businesses, which would have a huge impact on the state’s GDP.
â¢ Sir Nwosu wrote from Atani, Ogbaru LGA