Stakeholders in the Cotton, Textile and Garment sector have called on the Federal Government to make available an intervention fund of about N1 trillion, as well as a longer tenor rate to aid the growth and development of the sector.
Already, the Bank of Industry (BoI) stated that about 60 per cent of the N100 billion intervention fund has been disbursed to the sector in the last two years.
Speaking at a validation workshop organised by the Bank of Industry in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer of BoI, Ms Evelyn Oputu, said there was need for a line of credit to resuscitate companies in the textile industry, as it remains a key sector that generates a high number of jobs in the country.
She noted that the bank and other agencies are doing a mid-term evaluation of the Cotton, Textile and Garment Scheme in a bid to examine the progress made and other areas of concern.
According to her, BoI has disbursed nearly 60 per cent of the N100 billion allotted to the textile sector to revive it, but hopes to increase funding to the sector if empowered.
The Country Representative, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Patrick Kormawa, advocated the need for an improved investment climate, effective policies for the real sector, as well as enhanced capacity building for members of the industry in order to aid the growth of the sector.
He identified the dearth of adequate machinery and manpower as a bane to the growth of the real sector, therefore calling for a renewed effort to revitalise the sector.
General Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers (NUTGTW), Isa Aremu, commended the government for the intervention effort in the textile sector, noting that though it came late, it was better as many firms were revived.
He said: "When the textile industry was still vibrant, a single firm could generate about 10,000 jobs. However, due to the intervention fund, we have been able to revive some firms. There is a need for an accelerated growth in the sector and this can be achieved through increased funding to the sector.
“Presently, 58 companies are managing N100 billion, while AMCON has spent about N5.6 trillion on rescued banks. This gesture can also be replicated in the real sector if the desired growth and employment generation will be achieved.”
He then urged the BoI to increase the tenor rate for loans sought by firms in the real sector in order to aid attractiveness of the loans to the companies and foster development.
“A drop in interest rates for the real sector will foster its growth. I believe we can work towards a zero per cent interest rate if we set our mind towards it”, he added.