James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, has put the cumulative value of textiles and garments imported or smuggled into the country at $4.2 billion, while $325 million (over N170 billion) is lost in annual revenues to the government.
Speaking yesterday at a high – level stakeholders’ policy validation retreat on the cotton, textiles and garments, she said the Cotton, Textiles and Garments (CTG) sector remained one of the key sectors currently prioritised in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) as well as the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) due to its strategic importance to employment generation, wealth creation and industrial development.
The minister noted that the meeting had become necessary in order to build consensus and understanding on a clear revitalisation roadmap for the sustainable growth and development of the CTG sector across the value chain.
She said her ministry had in January 2015, published the approved National Cotton, Textile, Garment’s Policy, which was aimed at improving the sustainable increase in production, investment and competitiveness of the sector to create jobs and wealth for Nigerians.
Abubakar, however, lamented that the outcome from the policy intervention was yet to materialise due to some constraints, including insufficient cotton seeds for production, high cost of operations, smuggling and counterfeiting, high influx of cheap textile and garments products into the country, lack of enabling infrastructure as well as lack of quality and standard.
“The issues highlighted above have affected the industry growth and necessitated the need for holistic review of the CTG policy to align with current realities with a view to boost production in order to increase investment in the textile and garment industry.”
She added that the revitalisation of the sector had the potential to create more job opportunities across the value chain particularly for farmers and textile manufacturers; reduce smuggling of textile products as well as lead to increased revenue- and stimulating foreign direct investment (FDI) in the CTG industry.