Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has lamented over the sorry state of Nigeria’s textile industry.
He said; “This industry employed over 450,000 people. The textile industry then, represented close to 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector. Beyond the jobs created in the factories, this industry was supported by the production of cotton by 600,000 local farmers across 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states, thousands of ginnery workers who processed the cotton from farmers, and a large number of distributors that sold the finished cloths to consumers.”
“The sector supported the clothing needs of the Nigerian populace, as our markets were filled with locally produced textiles from companies such as Kaduna Textiles Mill, United Textiles, Supertex Limited, International Textile Industry (ITI), Texlon, Enpee and Aswani Mills amongst several others. “The cloths produced in these factories were highly sought after not only in Nigeria, but in West Africa and, indeed, in Great Britain.”
“Today, due to the unfortunate activities of smugglers and dumpers, most of the factories mentioned above have all stopped operations, as only 25 textile factories are operating today, and the workforce in Nigeria’s textile industry presently stands at less than 20,000 people.”
“In addition, a large proportion of our clothing materials are now being imported from China and countries in Europe. Today, Nigeria currently spends about $4 billion annually on imported textiles and ready-made clothing.”
“One quick example that highlights the potential of this local market includes the need to support provision of uniforms and clothing apparels for students, military and paramilitary officers as well as workers in the industrial sector. In addition, when we consider the amount spent on outfits for religious and social events such as weddings, naming and funeral ceremonies on a weekly basis, the potential market size is well over $4 billion.”
“Consequently, the current trend where all our textile materials are imported from abroad must stop. It also means we must all join hands to fight and destroy all attempts by unscrupulous persons and companies to continue to smuggle and dump textile and garments into Nigeria.”
“In considering the role which this sector plays in our economic development, we must not just consider the fact of productivity, but must also view the sector from the standpoint that their existence helps in sustaining the vitality of the neighbourhoods in which they operate.
“With the death of these industries, came a rise in unemployment, insecurity and other negative social vices. We must reverse this trend. In doing this, the CBN is currently gathering data about, and investigating the accounts of individuals and corporates currently involved in smuggling and dumping textile materials into Nigeria.”
“This investigation is also being extended to the 42 other items restricted from foreign exchange in Nigeria. After our investigations, the names of these individuals and companies will be publicized. And let me assure everyone that these individuals and companies will be blacklisted and all the banks in Nigeria shall be barred from conducting any banking business with the companies, their owners and top management.”