Reviving The Textile Industry | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Our View, Views

Reviving The Textile Industry

Posted: Sep 20, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

editorial letter

One of the most pertinent promises President Mohammed Buhari made at the inception of his administration was the creation of more jobs through the revival of the textile industry that is now comatose. This obviously is a positive development, which deserves the support of all stakeholders and indeed Nigerians. 

Available statistics indicate that the Nigerian Textile industry in the 90s ranked the second largest in Africa after Egypt. Indeed with over 150 textile mills operating above 50percent capacity utilization, the sector was seen as a major contributor to employment generation as it accounted for about 1.5 million jobs in the country. But presently the industry is beset with a myriad of challenges ranging from inappropriate policies, dearth of knowledgeable Nigerian personnel, inadequate power supply, obsolete technology, high cost of alternative energy, inadequate water supply, and fluctuation in foreign exchange rate to undue competition from imported goods and a host of others.

Of course, the biggest challenge of the industry has been lack of will power and total commitment by previous governments to tackle the problems in the sector. Countries like China that were formerly disadvantaged have shown that it was possible to overcome all these obstacles if there is the will to do so.

We suggest that government revisits economic policies, administrative and regulatory framework to create a more production friendly climate, structures and specific investment policies and incentives as regards the textile industries. At a recent meeting with the Cotton, Textile and Garment industry stakeholders in Lagos, the Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had revealed that the apex bank would provide cheap funding of single digit loan to revive the CTG industry. Certainly this is a step in the right direction but the government still needs to address the high rate of foreign exchange.

Equally worthy of note is how to prevent further dumping of foreign textiles in the country with the implementation of the common tariff. We are aware that the World Trade Agreement (WTA) has not been favourable to Nigeria in asking that member countries throw their doors open to allow influx of goods, but the government along with the stakeholders must come up with solutions that will help provide optimum amount of protection for the local textile industry and move the country forward.

Countries like South Africa are taking advantage of the World Trade Agreement to open clothing outlets in Nigeria. It is interesting that the Garment and Tailoring arms of the Textile Workers Union are not advocating that money be set aside to enable them start chains of clothing outlets that will dictate standard of production as is done in advanced textile producing countries. In these countries, textile production is fuelled by the Garment manufacturers who have formed a consumer base, oiled by retailers and end users so that most of the fabrics produced have a specific target and are of well guided specifications. The opposite is the case in Nigeria where there is no Garment industry. The textile producers push their products, usually of inferior quality, down the throats of consumers and those who have the means are always too willing to turn to imported goods.

No doubt government and indeed Nigerians stand to gain if the textile industry is speedily revamped, as it will help to provide employment and give security the boost that is badly needed.