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Stakeholders fault production of military uniforms by Turkish firm

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Stakeholders in the textile and garments industry have kicked against the production of military uniforms by foreign firms.

They said it belied President Muhammadu Buhari’s perceived interest in revitalising the industry, and capable of squeezing life out of an industry that had been comatose for years.

The Federal Government had ordered that a Turkish company, said to be in partnership with Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) in Kaduna State, should henceforth produce military and other paramilitary uniforms.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a military and paramilitary clothing factory in Kaduna was signed with a Turkish firm, Sur Corporatewear, in Abuja last Thursday.

At the MoU signing, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, had said that the Turkish firm was expected to develop local brand of textile materials and accessories.

He added that the firm would invest $13 million (about N4.7 billion) in the enterprise. 

But the Creative Director of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi, described the development as shocking and capable of keeping the moribund industry in coma.

She said: “When President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all uniforms shouldn’t be imported any longer, we were excited. We felt it was high time the local manufacturers built capacity. We have met with the military and paramilitary bodies, and they have promised to patronise us. We went as far as coming up with an MoU, they made corrections and returned it to us.”

Ogunlesi stressed the need for the government to believe in and give local firms a chance to grow.

Also, the Managing Director of Sam and Sara, Mrs. Folake Oyemade, described the move as unpatriotic, saying it could further make the nation dependent on other nations for its needs.

Her words, “I was shocked when I learnt about it because President Buhari had shown interest in reviving the textile industry. I don’t believe he was aware of this development.” 

She wondered why the job was given to foreigners when local investors had indicated interest in it.

“I have two garment factories and we have more than 1,000 workers. I don’t know what the Turkish firm is bringing to Kaduna that we cannot do. The state government even offered them equity. Yet, we had approached them for the same project and we didn’t ask for any equity. We offered to build a factory and employ their youths, but nothing came out of it,” he added.

On his part, the owner of Wessy Tailor, Wasiu Taiwo, lamented that local factories had been folding up due to lack of huge market.

 


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