They quoted the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, to have said during the signing of MOU that the Turkish firm was expected to develop local brand of textile materials and accessories, adding that a total of $13million (N4.68 billion) would be invested by the firm to finance the enterprise and make it viable.
Reacting to the development, the Creative Director of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi, described the development as shocking and capable of keeping the moribund industry in coma.
Ogunlesi said stakeholders had been holding meetings on how to revive the industry, and that the latest move by the government came as a shock to her.
Ogunlesi said: “When President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all uniforms shouldn’t be imported any longer, we were excited. We felt it was high time the local manufacturers built capacity.
Ogunlesi stressed the need for government to believe in local companies and give them the chance to grow, arguing that government couldn’t continue to say that the industry lacks the capacity without creating a level playing ground.
“If you do not invest in capacity building, how do will grow? Besides, I see this development as a security breach. It is totally wrong for a foreign company to make our security uniforms.
Also speaking on the development, the Managing Director Sam and Sara, Mrs. Folake Oyemade, described the move as unpatriotic, saying it could further make the nation dependent on other nations of the world.
For me, I don’t understand why the job is given to a foreigner when local investors have indicated interest in it. I have two garment factories and we have more than 1,000 workers.
She said, “I believe there should be a level playing ground for all. We have a Public-Private Partnership deal with Osun State, where we built a uniform factory. We didn’t get any equity from the government; we funded the factory, trained 500 youths and employed some trainees.”
On his part, the owner of Wessy Tailor, Otunba Wasiu Taiwo, lamented that local factories had been folding up because of lack of support and patronage from the government.
He stated, “Government needs to support and encourage us. We have the population and we have the manpower. They shouldn’t give our jobs to foreigners when we are capable of delivering the same quality.