A man shows off some of the skin being prepared for tanning
By Ibrahim Shuaibu
As the debate over the desirability of Export Expansion Grant (EEG), being provided for Nigerian exporters intensifies, the National Association of Hides and Skins Dealers (NAHSD), say cancelling the scheme will be injurious to the nation `s economy.
Chairman of the association Alhaji Ali Abdu Gezawa said in Kano on Tuesday that millions of Nigerians currently employed within the hides and skin value chain would be made jobless, if the call for it cancellation is accepted by Federal Government.
Gezawa insisted that contrary to insinuations, the implementation of the scheme had actually facilitated the creation of millions of additional jobs within the leather industry value chain.
Speaking to THISDAY in Kano, Gezawa said that facts in possession of the body shows that the implementation of the scheme, had led to massive investment in the leather sector, which has translated into more jobs for the citizens, as well as foreign exchange earnings for the nation.
Last week, a body known as “Leather and Allied Products branch of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (LAPAN) had called for the cancellation of the grant on the ground that the adoption of the scheme is causing job losses.
“NAHSD is a grassroots organization representing the interest of the ordinary Nigerians in the country, whose survival depends on activities in the hide and skin value chain, wish to use this forum to correct the wrong impressions being conjured against the EEG scheme.
“The scheme is not a waiver, which can be easily abused, it is an incentive that only serious companies active in the export –business, can access based specifically on approved procedures.
“The provision of EEG to tanneries has boosted the economic activities of the entire Nigerian populace as millions of people have benefited from it right from the primary consumers up to secondary consumers, worthy of note are, animal farmers and the butchers who are at the tail end of the leather industry.
“The scheme has remedied the pains of abject poverty that exists in the north and added value to the economy by attracting international investment to the leather sector. Moreso, hundreds of thousands of new jobs have been added at the various levels of processes which involves buying, selling, preserving, transportation and exporting of finished leathers.
“On a more tangible note, EEG had succeeded in lifting the country’s non-oil earnings from $0.2 billion in 2000 to over $2.8 billion in 2011,” Gezawa explained.
Commenting on the closure of indigenous companies involve is shoe-manufacturing in the country, Gezawa said contrary to the claim none of them were denied treated leather for production.