The Governor of Abia state,Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu says he knows the importance of the creative industry in the quest to create alternative revenue base for the state.
Dr Ikpeazu who spoke with Showbiz Journalists in Lagos, through his Media Aide,Uche Olehi,also encouraged investors to take advantage of the investor-friendly economic policies of his administration to grow their businesses.
The Governor further revealed he is focusing on revamping infrastructure across the state to create the enabling environment for businesses.
“For us in Abia,we believe the best path to follow is to redress the infrastructural deficit to unlock the rich diversity in the economy, like the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun stated recently.
“We started with road infrastructure and addressing issues relating to urban renewal with a view to making Abia an investment haven, which is what we are right now. We have also improved security among other social infrastructure.”
On the priority attention being paid to the creative economy, the Governor explained that the state is well positioned to tap from the multi-million dollar industry that includes Nollywood, Music, Fashion, Tourism and allied cultural and hospitality ventures.
To realise the enormous value chain deriveable from this sector, Ikpeazu said the gates of the state are open to investors and creative entrepreneurs willing to invest in Abia.
He reiterated his determination to make Aba the nation’s tourism, entertainment and investment hub as well as Africa’s SMES capital.
“Abia is blessed with its strategic geographic location and direct access to seven other states.
'We can regain our status as a major commercial and transport hub in the South-East/South-South region of Nigeria. We have opportunities to forge partnerships that enable us to implement economic goals, drive accelerated growth in our key economic sector so our hopes and dreams are achieved.
“Our story as a people is one of entrepreneurship, resourcefulness, creativity and diligence. This is our pride. We have astounded the world with our home-grown technical skills,especially during a period of pervasive adversity, and followed it up with our trade and commercial prowess, elevating one of our cities, Aba, to a prominent commercial hub within the West African region.
"This historic feat is to become our future narrative.
"The time is ripe to use the over 110,000 shoemakers and 50,000 garment makers (fashion designers) as a launching pad to enable Abia to truly become the undisputed SME Capital of Nigeria,” the Governor re-echoed his May 29, 2015 inaugural speech.
Determined to run an inclusive economy, the Abia state Government has been encouraging investment in the area of creative enterprises as film-makers, music producers and artistes flood the state in search of business opportunities.
According to the Governor’s Special Assistant on Media (Uche Olehi),the present administration believes the state can create jobs and enhance its IGR through the creative industry.
And Abia with its diverse cultural, tourism and artistic heritage is well positioned to benefit from the value chain the sector offers.
Only last December, the maiden edition of Enyimba Carnival, a week-long cultural festival, held at Aba, the state commercial capital. The hugely successful carnival further exposed the hidden treasures in the creative industry.
Interestingly, movie, music and comedy practioners of Abia origin, those outside the state and the diaspora are now poised to key into the new economic order upon which the Ikpeazu regime is building Abia’s future.
Few months on the saddle as Abia’s fourth Executive Governor, Dr Ikpeazu, a technocrat and former university don, has recorded giant strides in the area of infrastructure and socio-economic development of the state.
He has renovated over 65 roads, while redressing the infrastructural challenges that have bedevilled the state since its creation over 25 years ago.
He has also given tourism a boost with the dredging of the famous Aba River and showing critical interest in the long-abandoned Enyimba Hotel.
The Governor has equally focused on human capacity building even as serious attention is paid to talents and special skill acquisitions.
Like the great American industrialist, Harvey Firestone, the Governor believes the growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
And Policy analysts and political observers say Ikpeazu’s on the right path, considering his laudable achievements, so far, anchored on people-centred policies.
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