Despite its claim of diversifying its economy, Nigeria still spends about $4.42 billion, yearly, importing foreign fabrics into the country, a situation that has negatively affected the growth of local industries.
Shedding more light on this, stakeholders lamented the loss caused on both the economy and the textile sector particularly, adding that nothing that concrete has been done to change the trend by policy makers.
In a chat with the General Secretary of National Union of Textile and Garment Workers, and Chairman, Industrial Global Union Sub-Saharan Africa, Comrade Issa Aremu, said the sector was capable of absorbing more than 45 percent of the over bloated labour market if the wastage were stopped and the resources re-channeled to local firms.
He specifically mentioned the deliberate attempt at seeing that viable textile companies in Kano, Kaduna, Aba and Lagos remained shut or be under producing, to the advantage of their foreign competitors.
“No other country within the ECOWAS sub region spends half of the amount that Nigeria wastes in importing foreign textiles, which are even better produced locally,” according to the former director.
Also, a former director of now defunct Atlantic Textile Mills (ATM) Mr. John Onoh, alleged that merchants from India and China had been able to kill the textile sector in Nigeria through wrong policy of government, which systematically allowed the foreigners to buy off the textile mills and convert same into confectionary factories and warehouse for their consignment.
According to him, Nigeria is yearly churning out an average of 20,000 school leavers, who could have been absorbed in the sector had the policy favoured survival of the industry.
He said with recent announcement by India, which is the second largest textile producer in the world after China, that it was extending a $1 billion incentive package to the textile sector to create 10 million jobs in three years; Nigeria can do the same and achieve better result.
According to him, the sector deserves urgent attention from the federal government.
By Emma Eke…..
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears