Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu has called on the states of the federation to capitalise on the potential of the leather sector as one that can generate foreign exchange and create wealth.
He made the call at the 1st National Summit on hides and skins value chain which ended recently in Abuja.
The estimated value of the global trade in leather is put at $92 billion with hides and skins derived from Nigeria commanding premium for its high quality.
The stakeholdersâ€™ summit was conveyed by the hides and skin belt states of Kebbi, Jigawa, Katsina, Bauchi, Bornu, Adamawa and Kano in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
The governor, who delivered the keynote address also called for the protection of leader industry and the provision of tanneries to allow the treatment of leather in a more advanced way.
According to him investment in treatment facilities will enable leather to be produced in advanced ways in addition to being an essential element to enhance the hides and skins value chain.
Similarly he said that high rate at which Nigerians consume hides and skins should not be a deterrent in the maximisation of value chain of leather as the international demand for the product is an incentive to produce more.
He stressed that federal government had in the last two and half-year evolved policy framework supportive of improving the value chain.
He appealed to stakeholders to mobilise to guide government to achieve results.
The National Summit was organised by stakeholders to enable the country reassert the primacy of the premium Sokoto red goat skin in the leather export market and maximise the hides and skin value chain through regulatory framework and enforcement of standards.
The summit facilitator, Safiya Adamu said that poor organisation has resulted in the Sokoto red goat skin, rated number three in the world in terms of quality, to be labelled as Moroccan leader, because it is taken through the North African country for standard processing before it is sent to Europe.
Adamu said Nigeria must set standard to be competitive and fix the tanneries whose technologies are not at par with global standards.
â€œIf we donâ€™t fix the value chain we wonâ€™t be able to get the opportunities. The red Sokoto leather which has existed since the Trans Saharan Trade is now labelled in the industry as Moroccan leather because of our attitude to value chain management. The skin is one of the best in the world. We need a framework that will govern the sector,â€ she said.