Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

From TCNEWS

The Abia State Government has emphasized readiness to transform the markets in the state to international standards. 

A release jointly made available to newsmen by Meregini Lucky and Treasure Onyinna, Information Officers, Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry stated that the Commissioner, Dr Chimezie Isaac Ukaegbu, disclosed this in a town hall meeting with leaders and traders of the market held at Abia Hotels, Umuahia.

 Ukaegbu stated that government is not going back on the planned remodeling of the Ekeoha international market Aba in line with the present administration’s rebuilding program.

 He disclosed that the project is aimed at giving the market the required facelift and stressed that government recognizes the importance of the market in governance and will do everything to promote their products and businesses. 

Ukaegbu explained that the present administration believes in negotiation and consultation hence the convening of the town hall and assured that the project will be done in a way that would be beneficial to both traders and government.

Ukaegbu who further disclosed that Ekeoha International Market is not the only market that will undergo remodeling and everything is to foster the state government’s ease of doing business, assured that all shop owners will retain their shops as long as they have their allocation papers.

The Commissioner frowned at the failure of the zonal chairmen of the  Market to convene a meeting where traders that will be part of the town hall meeting will be selected by the zones and urged the chairmen to go back and do the right thing noting that a committee comprising of the traders, the ministry and the developer will be set up to enable them discuss the modalities for the remodeling project.

In his speech, the developer Chief Chinedu Onyeizu assured that the remodeling project will be done in a manner that will be good to the traders and in line with government specifications adding that they are building 31,000 shops. 6,000 shops will be built in the Ekeoha shopping center while 25,000 shops will be built at the Osisioma extension which has 80 hectares of land.

He stated that the shops will be built to international standards by introducing digital shopping and providing digital solutions to enhance trading. 

The developer stressed that the market will not be demolished until a tripartite agreement between representatives of Ekeoha Shopping Centre, the Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry, and the developer is reached.

He emphasized that the governor Dr. Alex Otti expressed concern about developing the market but insisted that an alternative place should be made for traders to continue to do their business during the remolding phase. 

Onyeizu who said the remodeling will be done in six phases noted that the first phase will focus on the collapsed areas, while other traders will continue to do their business.

 He said the relocation of traders from collapsed shops will be free, they will not have to pay to relocate their business to a temporary site while their shops are being remodeled. 

He disclosed that an alternative location has been secured at Enyimba Mall and GSM market for relocation to make it seamless noting that the first phase must be completed before the next zone will be demolished. 

Onyeizu stressed that after the remolding, the original owners of the shops will be given the first right of refuser before any other person will be considered. 

As for the pricing, Chief Onyeizu says the prices of the shops will be determined by the transition committee which will have one week to work and advise on the prices that will be suitable for everyone involved. 

He hinted that they are working assiduously hard to ensure that the traders retain their shops and in view of that, they have made available options of payment which include, the first option full payment for the shop, the second option is rent to own approach where one pay in installment to become the owner of the shop while the third option is where the mortgage Banks will give loans to the traders to buy the shop and will be given 10 to 15 years to pay up when the payment is completed, the trader becomes the rightful owner of the shop and the fourth option is the infrastructure bank which is the small and medium enterprise. 

He said that they are exploring all options available to ensure that everyone retains his or her shops.

In his remarks, the grand patron of Ekeoha international market Aba, Chief Mike Madubuko blamed the previous administration’s approvals, for the problems facing the market and pleaded that the project be done in a way that the interest of the traders will be in the front burner.

By NWAMARA

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