By Kingsley Maduforo
The key objective of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration is to diversify the economy of Abia State. Commerce and agriculture are two of the many areas of this intended diversification. Both the agricultural and commercial sectors have been drastically boosted since the inception of this present administration and they have yielded fruits that have promoted Made-in-Aba products and have helped increase the State’s Internal Generated Revenue.
Products made in any country and rightly and proudly labelled as such bring a certain kind of confidence, respect, national pride and energize  such a country to compete with other countries. Therefore being given an opportunity to produce anything either from local or foreign materials is often a prized chance for a people to display their creative ingenuity and competitive spirit, both of which are integral factors in innovation, growth and development. In some respect, locally-made products hold their own ground in specific areas but more need to be done consistently in promoting our local products in order for us to harmonize and reap in totality the socio-economic developmental benefits accruing therefrom.
The effort of this present administration in Abia State ably led by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu towards creating awareness about and popularizing Made-in-Aba products, Aba – the commercial town of the State, and the highly talented and creative Aba artisans has seen the State government embark on very aggressive campaigns nationally and internationally aimed at making the products acceptable to Nigerians across social classes and even the international community. It is note-worthy that the Made-in-Aba brand largely regarded as inferior in the past has undergone rapid improvement and transformation especially in quality so as to effectively boost its chances of favourably competing with other brands in the international market.
In Abia State today, Made-in-Aba products play very significantly positive role in enhancing the growth performance of the Abia economy. This is a result of the presence of economic infrastructure – the combination of basic facilities that are needful in bringing about the development of any economy of which the creation of awareness about, and promotion of locally-made products fall under.
Consequently, the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA) will be hosting its 2017 Exhibition of quality products. It is the 3rd ABA INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR with the theme: PROMOTING TRADE and BUSINESS INTERACTION for SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT of NIGERIA and it will hold at the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba from 14th to 29th November, 2017.
The benefits of this novel idea are enormous. It is an avenue for Aba artisans to display and promote their products. It is an opportunity that will bring investors to the business town of Aba. It is also a means of boosting the commercial and agricultural sectors of Abia State economy and also increase its IGR. This is not only an avenue for revenue generation, it also has the prospect of reducing youth unemployment if effectively managed.
Kingsley Maduforo is a Media Analyst, writes from Umuahia.