By James Emejo in Abuja
The federal government has unveiled measures aimed at tackling some of the industrial constraints in the nation’s textile sector.
Part of the strategies being employed aim to from the drift of companies leaving the country and stop smuggling and counterfeiting-and prioritise patronage of made-in-Nigeria products by agencies of government .
The Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, gave the hint at the weekend during a tour of textile factories in Kano as part of activities during the North-west Regional Customer Forum.
The forum, which was organised by the Bank of Industry (BoI) has as its theme: ‘The Role of Financial Institutions in driving the industrial development of a nation: A-Z of accessing BOI’s credit facility.’
Apart from this, the development finance institution has been at the vanguard of reviving the once moribund sector, having approved loans to over 70 projects in the CTG value chain.
Abubakar toured the factories in company of the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Jacobs, the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Isah Aremu and the General Manager of BOI, Mr. Joseph Babatunde, among other dignitaries.
Speaking during the event, the minister said government had identified several issues including gas supply, smuggling and counterfeiting as constraints which would be addressed to revive the textile industry in the country.
She said: “Some of the issues we are trying to address are the issues of smuggling and counterfeiting. Gas supply to the North. We are also trying to address the issue of patronage. On the issue of patronage, I am sure that by next year we will see more results because they also told us that special interests have come forward to them.”
She urged the operators to articulate their thoughts on how to move the industry forward and ensure that the critical role of the sector in the nation’s economy is sustained.
She said some of the things textiles manufacturers were asking for were not in line with government thinking at the moment, added that there was the need for stakeholders to find a common ground that would ensure that stakeholders are accountable and responsible in order to achieve the needed growth in the industry.
Abubakar noted that the Export Expansion Grants (EEG) previously offered as incentives by government was grossly abused by stakeholders, adding that government was looking at bringing it back in an entirely different way for better and effective implementation.
She said: “You know the EEG was so much abused. The EEG is going to come back but it is going to come back in a different way. And I don’t know what is going to happen to what is outstanding. We are trying to look at different ways to make it easy for those who have really done what they were supposed to do.
“A lot of verifications, a lot of audit is still on going for us to see what we can do because we generally believe in EEG. But the implementation of it has not been done well. There is no government that can do anything without incentives, so EEG is coming back.”
The minister visited five textile manufacturing plants including African Textile Manufacturing Limited, Nigerian Spinners and Dyerrs Limited, Tofa Textile Limited, Tertex Nigeria Limited, and Adhama Textile and Garment Industries Limited.
It was gathered that all the plants visited were under serious operational distress with some threatening to close down due to unfriendly business environment emanating from inconsistency in government policies among other issues.