Textile workers urge presidential task force on smuggling
The National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has called on the Federal Government to establish a presidential task force to confiscate goods smuggled into the country.
The task force, the union said, should be made up of relevant stakeholders, including members of the union.
President of NUTGTWN, John Adaji, said this during the union’s 100th National Administrative Council (NAC) and 86th Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Lagos.
Adaji, who recalled that a similar task force existed during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said since then smuggled goods and counterfeiting of made-in-Nigeria had continued to find their way into the country unhindered.
He frowned at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for not combating smuggling, such that cheap textile products from China and other Asian countries continue to dominate the local market with little or no access to locally produced textiles.
The NUTGTWN boss alleged that some Customs officers openly escort smuggled goods across the borders, thereby aiding and abetting smuggling.
He alleged that notable smugglers are supporters and financials of most politicians, there was little or nothing they could do to stop them.
He called on the NCS to be more patriotic and adopt new creative measures that must include consistent raids of the warehouses of smugglers in Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, Onitsha and other cities in the country.
According to him, the promised benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), will elude Nigeria if illegal imports of textile fabrics and other products Nigeria can produce continue to find their way into the local markets unchecked.
Adaji acknowledged some measures by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Industry (BoI), aimed at reviving the textile industry and called for stakeholders’ meeting to review some of the measures, to ascertain the successes as well as challenges.
He noted that one of the major problems of the industry has been the lack of patronage despite the Federal Executive Order 003 on the patronage of locally produced goods.
He called on relevant agencies of government to comply with the executive order by patronising locally produced textiles to avert further factory closures and the attendant loss of jobs.
The union urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure holistic implementation of the Cotton Textile Garment (CTG) policy, noting that the textile industry remained a critical path for addressing the current high level of unemployment and attendant security challenges in the country.
According to the union, a fully revived textile industry is capable of creating millions of jobs, addressing security challenges, improving internally generated revenue, reducing billions of dollars in import bills incurred yearly on textile and apparel, safeguarding and earning foreign exchange for the country.
The workers also urged the state governments to complement the Federal Government’s efforts through complimentary bold industrial policies that would revive closed factories in their localities, such as the provision of infrastructure, granting of genuine tax incentives and patronage of made-in-Nigeria products.
The union emphasised that the government must do more to provide the enabling environment for the revival of the textile industry in Nigeria and manufacturing activities in general.