- FG aims to cut smuggling by 15%
James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar, monday lamented that the country had lost no fewer than 145 textile companies to unfavourable business climate between 1980 and 2016, leaving only about 30 textile firms in operation till date.
Speaking in Abuja during a meeting with the National Committee on the Implementation of Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy, she regretted that an industry which was the highest employer of labour after the government had suddenly become a shadow of its own, engaging only “very few people.”
The meeting was convened to review the progress so far made with the implementation of the CTG policy after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the framework in December 2014.
Meanwhile, Abubakar said the federal government would take the implementation of the policy seriously as it would help to rejuvenate the growth and development of the industry.
She said: “Since our coming on board, I have taken time to understand the policies and programmes of the ministry. We have identified the CTG sector as an important sector for revival in view of the very high potential of job creation along its value chain.”
According to her: “The CTG sector which used to be the highest employer of labour next to government, with over 175 mills at its peak in the 1980s is now a shadow of itself with barely 30 companies operating presently. “This is no time for lamentation, we are determined to succeed. The country is looking at us.”
She said: “This meeting is called to review the activities this far and to chart the way forward. I am sure the successful implementation of the CTG policy will indeed bring back the glory of this sector through its multiplier effect.”
Chairperson of the committee, Mrs. Omotanwa Awobokun said there was need to address some of the challenges facing the sector.
She identified them to include funding constraints, smuggling, inadequate power supply, standardisation and the poor yield from cotton seed.
However, as part of measures to address the issue of smuggling, she said a presidential task force on textile had been set up with a clear mandate to reduce textile smuggling by 15 per cent.
The task force would also carry out diplomatic initiatives to persuade neighbouring countries to support Nigerian anti-smuggling initiatives.
The CTG policy was launched on January 20,2015, alongside a National CTG Policy implementation committee to implement the policy.
The policy thrust of the framework was to reposition the sector as the second largest employer of labour and a revenue earner for government, targeting a cumulative investment of N255 billion between 2015 and 2020.
It further sought to save about $2 billion in foreign exchange spent importing textiles and garments.
According to the document, the policy is expected to increase the level of direct employment in the sector from 50,000 persons in 2015 to 100,000 by 2017 with indirect employment expected to increase from 650,000 people to 1.3 million.