Minister Worries $20m Spent on Jute Bags Importation in 2015


Stories by James Emejo in Abuja

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar has expressed worry that over $20 million was expended on the importation of jute bags last year.

She said the importation was avoidable given the Nigeria’s capability and potential of becoming a net exporter of jute bags and other derivatives of kenaf.

Speaking in Abuja during the inauguration of the Kenaf Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (KEPPMAN), she said: “What is disturbing is the inability of the country to fully harness the potential of this very important commodity?

“Countries like India, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia and others which understand the significance of the commodity to the development of their economies are investing massively and reaping returns worth billions of dollars.
“The simple fact that kenaf can be grown in commercial quantity in over 20 states of Nigeria including the FCT explains why the Federal Government is keen on developing the commodity.”

According to her, “Kenaf has given us a window of opportunity in our quest for economic diversification.
“Investment in kenaf would not only create millions of jobs for our teeming unemployed youth but would also enhance the standard of living for all stakeholders in the commodity value chain.’’

kenaf is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant with a wide range of both food and non-food derivatives and a major source of an edible vegetable oil.

Equally, the kenaf seed oil is also used for cosmetics, industrial lubricants and for biofuel production.
Abubakar said translating the huge potential of kenaf into economic benefits was a task that all stakeholders must rise up to adding that the right mechanism would be put in place to attract investment both at the upstream and downstream sectors of the commodity.

While assuring them of government support, she urged the association to mobilise stakeholders across the kenaf value chain in order to revive the sector.