Textile industry in doldrums 15 years after N100 billion investment by govt
• Electricity workers accuse govt of spending N2tr on power
Despite sinking N100 billion through the establishment of the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) fund by the Federal Government in 2008, the industry has remained comatose.
Speaking at a policy dialogue on sustainable industrialisation and employment in Nigeria organised in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in Abuja yesterday, the President of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), John Adaji, also blamed policy somersaults and smuggling as the main challenges militating against the revival of the sector.
“Smuggling is the major killer of the textile industry in Nigeria. The issue of smuggling must be decisively dealt with if we are to keep the remaining industries and employment in the sector,” he said.
He explained that the union’s campaign and advocacy had culminated in the emergence of several supportive policies such as the ban on textile import between 2003 and 2007, the introduction of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), and the N100 billion textile and cotton intervention funds.
Though he admitted that while some of the policies had brought succour to the industry in the past and that rather than strengthen and sustain some of the policy measures, the industry has witnessed an uncritical reversal of policies by successive governments.
Adaji, who spoke during the celebration of the 2022 Africa Industrialisation Day (AID) which had, ‘Industrialising Africa: Renewed Commitment towards Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation and Economic Diversification’, declared that the continent will continue to witness a high level of unemployment and restiveness until the continent establishes clear pathways for industrialisation.
Adaji lamented the loss of jobs in the textile sector and the inability of the industry to operate at optimal capacities, saying, “there is still a huge gap between official policy pronouncements and implementation.”
He said the organised labour movement is worried about the precarious situation of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria particularly as it affects the textile industry and its implication for members’ welfare, jobs and employment in general.
He stressed that the future of Nigeria and that of Africa lies in adding value to its abundant raw materials and the creation of sustainable jobs.
He added: “Employment generation and employee retention, as well as poverty eradication, largely depend on the amount of value-addition through industrialisation and degree of diversification of the economy. Textile Industry remains the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for most national economies of developing nations like Nigeria.
Adaji maintained that the government needs to take urgent steps to review its policies and consider tax waivers for textile-based industries to encourage investment and encourage fair competition.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajaero has alleged that the Federal Government has spent about two trillion Naira in support of power distribution and generation companies without commensurate results.
Ajaero argued that if the money spent on bailing out the power companies had been sunk into the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), electricity would have been better for it.
His words: “The government said that the government does not have business in business but turned around to sink about two trillion Naira in bailing out companies that bought NEPA and subsidiaries. Why is the government giving them money when it does not have business in business? Why is somebody else’s business suddenly becoming the business of the government? If that money had been spent on reviving PHCN, there would be electricity in the country by now.”