18 Aug Entrepreneur urges Abia to make CFC functional to promote made-in-Nigeria goods
Abia State Government has been advised to ensure that the Common Facility Centre (CFC), Aba, is made functional, as it is vital to the promotion of made-in-Nigeria goods.
The facility established by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in conjunction with the Federal Government, to help the finished leather and garment clusters in Aba, to increase their capacities, has remained idle since its inauguration, 8 years ago.
Lawrence Ehilegbu, lead partner, MINECng, an entrepreneurship development outfit, made this observation in an exclusive interview with BUSINESSDAY, at the firm’s maiden bimonthly mentoring programme, for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in Aba.
He observed that Aba made products, especially shoes, belts, bags and garments, would not compete favourably at the international market, if that facility is not made to work.
He therefore appealed to the Abia State Government to ensure that the CFC, situated at Industry Road, becomes functional to support the promotion of locally made goods.
According to Ehilegbu, the essence of that facility would be defeated permanently, if it is not made to work, as it was established to help finished leather goods makers and tailors and fashion designers to standardize their products.
“These products cannot get unto the MINEC verified platform, if their finishing is not good enough. The finishing of their products must be beautiful, such that when they are sold globally, one will not return them after sales for one defect or another”.
MINECng, a consortium of technical partners with relevant skills in the development, establishment and management of micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) evolved to support Nigerian entrepreneurs, to develop and brand locally made goods to attract foreign patronage.
The consortium, which has established an office in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, strongly believes that its initiatives and customised trade-based seminars and regional partnerships in the public and private sectors of Nigeria’s economy, would tackle challenges faced by local manufacturers.
Aba regarded as the Japan of Africa, due to the ingenuity of artisans in the city, is the centre of fashion, finished leather goods and fabrication of equipment and tools in Nigeria.
However these competences are impeded by inadequate infrastructure, lack of raw materials, capital, packaging, multiple taxation, quality control, among other issues, which is where MINECng interest is.
MINECng tends to provide customised platforms that will consistently promote Made-in-Nigeria goods, to the global markets, using its websites and social media pages.
It also intends to partner government to ensure that a national brand identity is established for Made-in-Nigeria goods as mark of approval, develop a functional platform that increases international buyers’ confidence, while doing business with local MSMEs.
It will also serve as the medium for supporting entrepreneurial development, capacity and skill building, and acting as an authoritative source of information about made in Nigeria brands.