Textile manufacturers chart paths to revival of sector
The revival of the comatose textile industry will not be sustainable until the Federal Government supports the sector holistically, the Nigerian Textiles Manufacturers Association (NTMA) has said.
The newly elected President of NTMA, Folorunsho Daniyan, who stated this recently, identified the problems facing the industry to include lack of sufficient electricity supply, counterfeiting and smuggling among others.
He expressed optimism that with continued advocacy and increased support by government, the skies will be the limit “because it is obvious that a viable textiles industry can take thousands of Nigerians off the streets”.
He added: “A major problem for the textiles is cost of energy; cost of gas for those in the south and black oil for those in the north that are yet to be connected to the gas pipeline. Government recently approved gas tariff for textiles which is yet to come into full operation.
“However, one must commend this administration for its commitment to reviving the textile industry with the various intervention programmes for textiles. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been doing quite a lot by banning forex to textile traders, but the customs have to support them to realise that objective. It is thought that if smuggling is reduced by 20 per cent, about 40 textile firms will come back.
“We are advocating that the government set up a textile task force to combat smuggling of textiles as was recently done in Ghana. A minimum value should be fixed for textiles coming into Nigeria, as it is ridiculous for textiles to sell at N700 most of which are not healthy for the skin.”
Agro-economist, retired banker and politician, Daniyan’s election was ratified during the NTMA’s 15th annual general meeting held in Kaduna, recently.
He is presently head of corporate affairs of United Nigeria Textiles Limited (UNTL), the biggest textiles group in Nigeria, on whose platform he was elected the NTMA President.
The new NTMA president worked with Afribank as Area Agriculture Officer to appraise agriculture loan requests and management of same covering present North West; Premier Commercial Bank as Head of credit Administration, and IPWA Paints Plc. as Executive Director, Business Development.
The NTMA came together as a body as far back as 1967 and has since remained the umbrella under which the Nigerian textile industry operates.
Until stagnated by unchecked smuggling and dilapidated infrastructure in the mid-80s and early 90s, among other challenges, the textiles industry which used to have about 95 companies under the umbrella NTMA had been one of Nigeria’s largest and oldest manufacturing sectors of the economy, employers of labour and chief exports, rated third in Africa behind Egypt and South Africa.