The manufacturers of leather products in Nigeria have a special financial package from the Bank of Industry, BoI.

To improve capacity of operators in the leather products manufacturing sector and intensify import substitution, especially for those in Aba cluster, the BoI has unveiled the Aba Finished Leather Goods Cluster Financing programme targeted at over 150,000 artisans in the cluster.

According to the bank, the financing programme, which will see beneficiaries accessing up to 300, 000 naira for procurement of materials to expand and improve production, is expected to further boost import substitution.

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Speaking at the unveiling of the financing initiative in Aba, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, said the launch of Aba finished goods cluster financing programme essentially addressed some of the challenges of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises financing.

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Enelamah, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Edet Akpan, was quoted as saying that the Aba leather cluster has been in existence for many years with the trade passed on from one generation to the other.

He said it could be considered to be one of the oldest and most successful trade clusters in the history of Nigeria.

“The cluster of over 30,000 artisans is structured along four specialised production groups for shoe making, belt making, trunk box and bag making.

“The annual production capacity of shoes alone is estimated at about 6 million naira with the products sold in local as well as neighbouring West African markets. Machines have also been acquired to enhance capacity, both in quality and quantity,” Enelamah said.

He therefore urged beneficiaries of the financing scheme to ensure that loans were repaid to drive sustainability of the financing programme.

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