By Saby Elemba, Owerri
As the Ngor-Okpala Leather and Allied International Market, also known as Imo- Tianjin (China) International Market becomes a reality, some groups of investors such as the Vocational Institute for Leather Abuja, a group of Chinese investors, the Nigerian Allied and Leather Manufacuring Association have all declared interest to establish their presence in the market which is now seen as the largest regional market in the African continent.
Christopher Igwe, the managing director of Imo-Tianjin (China) Investment and Trade Centre, in Owerri who spoke in an exclusive interview, explained in detail the prospects of the regional market, and also informed that the Ngor-Okpala Council, the land lord local government has set up a committee from the local council to interface with the Imo-Tianjin (China) Investment and Trade Owerri which oversees all that is happening in the regional market.
“The Nigerian Allied and Leather Manufacuring Association has also sent us a letter, appreciating our efforts and also backing their association in the Southeast to fully be part of what we are doing, he disclosed.
“From the beginning, they are the ones from Aba, they also have another section in Imo, and they are also reaching out to those in Enugu State , Port Harcourt (Rivers State) and Anambra State. So the project has been started, the clearing of the site has started, we have gone far in the clearing, the parcellation and the siting of the projects within the complex have gone far,” he explained.
The market according to Igwe is a four-component project that has industrial section , the market (buying and selling) section, the residential section as well as the artisan section.
He continued, “we also received a letter from the Vocational Institute for Leather in Abuja. They sent us a letter that they are also interested in establishing their institute there. It is a new thing that has come to boost our happiness to see that the programme we are trying to put is being applauded by the society.
“The Leather Institute when it really comes into existence will be a place where the federal government will be training those in the leather and allied sector, it is a vocational training centre for people who are making shoes, people who are into leather accessories, leather production.”
Igwe explained further that many things that will be of a germaine importance to the South East and the society in general have come.
Moreover he said, “There is a group of Chinese that came from Abuja to indicate their interest to be part of the investors, knowing that we have a public private partnership (PPP) programme where by individual investors can come and take up a building in one section of the project and build it and manage it for 25 years in partnership with the centre and the Imo-Tianjin Investment and Trade Centre.”