Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia has said that 700,000 new jobs would be created in the state in the next 10 years as part of deliberate efforts to address the challenges of insecurity and socio-economic unrest.
Governor Ikpeazu revealed this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents on Sunday in Abuja bordering on President Muhammadu Buhari’s inaugural speech at the National Economic Council (NEC).
Buhari had on Thursday in his inaugural speech at the 2019 – 2023 NEC challenged state governors to pay more attention to education and infrastructural development, security, agriculture, and health.
The governor identified the decay in education as well as the increasing rate of unemployment across the country as a time bomb that must be addressed by all tiers of government and the private sector.
He said that Abia State government on its part has keyed into the Federal Government’s wider plan to address the problem of youth unemployment through its Enyimba Economic City project.
“I want to say this to all of us – by 2030 the population of Nigeria would double. So the ticking timing bomb is not the decay in infrastructure. The time bomb is education and unemployment and it speaks to everything including crime.
“So, in Abia, we are planning to create 700,000 jobs in 10 years. Certainly, I will not be governor in the next 10 years but we are planning ahead for the whole good people of Abia State that will come tomorrow or after us.
“And until we continue to plan or begin to plan ahead not for the next election but for the next generation we will not be able to do anything futuristic in our socio-economic development in Nigeria.
“So, the Enyimba Economic City is doing very well. We are glad that the enthusiasm of investors outside Nigeria is overwhelming.
“So, our target is to create 700,000 jobs in 10 years and to also create a center from where people can manufacture and export without paying anything,’’ he said.
The governor disclosed that the Abia Shoe Factories were being upgraded and modernized with the latest shoe making equipment and facilities to meet international specification.