Import Ban Alone Can’t Fix Textile Sector – Stakeholders

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Despite the federal government’s concerted efforts to revitalise the nation’s over 250 moribund textile mills only 30 are currently operational, The Nation can authoritatively report.

Confirming this development, the Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Muda Yusuf, noted that import ban, forex exclusion list, and intervention funds alone cannot fix this once vibrant sector.

Yusuf said, “It is important to underscore the importance of a strategic approach to industrialisation and this applies as well to the textile industry. The starting point is to strengthen the capacity of domestic industries, enhance their competitiveness, and reduce their import dependence as espoused in the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).

“More importantly the power issue needs to be addressed. It is almost impossible to achieve rapid industrialisation without resolving the issue power and the deficit in key infrastructures. Textile production is energy intensive. This is a high energy cost environment, and it is very difficult for any energy intensive sector to be competitive or efficient.”

He said that some of them have even gone into receivership adding that they could not repay their loans.

“The lesson is that we should deal with the fundamental issues of production competitiveness in our economy. The textile industry needs to be saved from the excruciating burden of high operating and production cost. Meanwhile, and in the spirit of the executive order of the President, all uniforms of military and paramilitary institutions should be made from Nigeria produced textiles. This is a low hanging fruit that could be explored while the issue of high production cost is being addressed,” he maintained.

Echoing similar sentiments, the Director General of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, noted that the Nigerian textile sector is key to the recovery of the Nigerian economy because of its potentials, and value chain across other sectors.

“This is because getting the sector back on its feet can provide direct and indirect employment to reduce unemployment and increase national output. Certainly reviving the sector will also have a positive effect on activities of SMEs in the textile and garment industry. Therefore irrespective of the challenges we must ensure that the various interventions work and all stakeholders must work together to ensure success and positive impact of this intervention which can serve as a tail wind for takeoff of the sector,” Olukanni stressed.

Commenting on the issue, the Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Apapa Branch, Engr. Frank Onyebu, said that the textile sector in Nigeria is bedeviled with a lot of challenges, saying the top of which is the attitude of Nigerians towards made in Nigeria apparels.

Onyebu lamented, it is rather unfortunate that in spite of various intervention funding the government has failed to do what is most fundamental, regretting that government could not get Nigerians to patronise Nigerian products.

“The textile sector faces additional challenges in that Nigerians have apathy for Nigerian textile materials. Everybody wants to wear foreign made clothes. Even the so called traditional attires are largely made with foreign materials. The most unfortunate part is that even the common man prefers second hand foreign garments than indigenous products. The Nigerian government can change this narrative if it leads by example. The government must insist on using made in Nigerian products, be it textiles, vehicles, furniture, etc,” MAN boss emphasised.

– The Nation

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