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The outgoing government of Okezie Ikpeazu in Abia State has pointed out that it would be in the interest of the State for the incoming administration to sustain the ongoing market remodelling programme.
Chief John Okiyi Kalu who is the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, made this known in a chat with journalists after inspecting the progress of work at the ongoing reconstruction of Ariaria International Market Aba.
According to him, having set the standard for market remodelling, Governor Ikpeazu would like his successor to continue with the programme to ensure that the status of Ariaria as an international market reflects in the quality of infrastructure and facilities.
The commissioner said that the Ikpeazu government had made good its intention to commence the remodelling of Ariaria market under a public-private partnership (PPP) by securing N1.5 billion bank guarantee for the developer, Blessed Henken.
It is expected that the three blocks of shops that are already at the final stage of completion would be inaugurated by Ikpeazu before bowing out of office on May 29.
Each of the three blocks has 480 modern shops fitted with electronically-operated doors, fire alarms, and elavators for ease of upward movement of goods in the two storey buildings.
‘It is our vision of what a modern market should look like in Abia State,’ the commissioner said, adding that the three blocks represent the standard for modernisation of markets in the state.
According to him, 14 blocks of shops have been earmarked for development in the first phase of the project beginning at ‘A’ Line while the entire market would be reconstructed in subsequent phases.
While expressing satisfaction at the quality and progress of work at the market, the commissioner said that Ariaria market would be transformed with structures and facilities befitting of its international status.
Okiyi described the reconstruction of the 47- year old market into a modern commercial centre as a major legacy that the Ikpeazu administration would leave behind.
He said that with the standard already set, it was expected the incoming administration would continue with the Ariaria remodelling project and see to its completion.
The commissioner noted that Ariaria is a strategic commercial centre with patronage spanning the West African coast and other parts of Africa hence its modernisation would boost commercial activities and the revenue base of Abia.
He said that since 1976 no government both in the old Imo State (from where Abia was carved out) and the successive governments in Abia State had seen the need to pay special attention to Ariaria International Market.