Okezie Ikpeazu, the governor of the state, made this known when he briefed heads of media houses in the state at the Abia Government Lodge, Aba, on Sunday as part of efforts to industrialise the state since he assumed office in 2015.
“This project is very close to my heart and I am passionate about it. Abia Government is building Enyimba Economic City.
“It is sitting on 9,000 hectares of land. We have committed over N10 billion to the project and we are shopping for sponsors,” he said.
He said the state government was not making much noise about the project because “we have our target to industrialise Abia and we must get there”.
On the moribund Golden Guinea and Ceramics industries, the governor said that previous administrations sold the companies, including the Enyimba Hotel, Aba.
Mr Ikpeazu said that in spite of the concession; the state government was doing all it could to bailout and re-vitalise the companies.
He said the state government had assisted Peter Nzenwa, the new owner of the brewery to secure Bank of Industry facility.
On modern ceramics, he said that it was concessioned to Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, who took a loan of N250 million to rehabilitate and revitalise the company.
“As I speak, that facility has accumulated to N1.5 billion interest. We have approached the court to pay and exit the church from the Shylock facility.”
He said that after exiting the church from the debt, the state government would like the church to explore its Italian connection to make the company functional again.
On teachers’ salary, he said that there was only two months gap, adding that before the end of 2018 those gaps would have been completely filled.
Mr Ikpeazu said that Abia had the highest workforce of 30,000, adding that 70 per cent of the workers were in the ministry while others were in the parastatals.
He explained that his administration inherited a monthly wage bill of N2.7 billion, noting that it had been reduced to N2.1 billion.
The governor said ICPC adjudged the state government as the best manager of the Paris Club Refund because it deployed 71 per cent of the cash inflow to workers’ salary.