THE National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, has urged Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect, to prioritise the rejuvenation of comatose textile industries in the country when he takes over the affairs of the nation. Issa Aremu, secretary general of the union reminded Buhari that it was part of his campaign promises to resuscitate dead textile industries across the country if voted into power.
Aremu also tasked the president-elect to ensure that smuggling and counterfeiting of textile materials into the country were halted, adding that if such socio-economic activities were allowed to thrive, it would rub on his good image. “We were encouraged during Gen Buhari’s campaign that he has resolved to revive textile and garment industry as part of his party’s overall strategy to re-industrialise the county and create mass employment for the millions of unemployed. We recall that in the 70s and up to early 80s, (when General Buhari and his patriotic team were in power) Nigeria was the largest producer of different range of textile, garment and carpet products surpassed in production only by Egypt and South Africa. We are willing to partner with his administration to reinvent this sector which has propelled newly industrialised countries in recent times such as China, India, Balgadesh and Indonesia among others.
“Twenty-six out of the 36 states grow cotton of both long and short stable lengths; in addition as an oil-producing country, Nigeria boasts of a large polyester base. Combined with the 170 million population rich in fashion and clothing and huge labour force of some 70 million potential workers, Nigeria has the potential of producing 1.2 billion meters of cloth per annum. When we factor the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) sub-regional market, Nigeria is a natural textile destination point in the world. The major threat to the realisation of the great potential of Nigeria in textile production is high influx of counterfeit and smuggled goods. The real acid test of Gen. Buhari’s incoming administration’s anti-corruption is how he frontally fights smuggling.
“Over 90 percent of Nigeria’s huge market size is dominated by smuggled and counterfeit goods, killing local companies in Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Guzau, Aba and Port Harcourt, and millions of direct and indirect associated local jobs. In addition smuggling denies the government the much needed revenue in unpaid custom duties. While private sector is the engine of growth, it is the government that must oil this engine, failing which it will crash as it has with the textile industry,” he said.
Aremu said all nations want to employ their youths, produce goods and services, overcome poverty and underdevelopment. To this extent, he said every nation protects its own industry, whether the industry is in ‘infancy’ or ‘adulthood’, adding that Nigeria cannot be different under Buhari’s administration which has commendably raised expectations to fight unemployment and grow the economy.
— Apr. 20, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT