To resuscitate textile industry in Nigeria
The comatose state of Nigeria’s textile manufacturing industry is a far cry from that of the 21st Century’s industrial evolution and productivity demand of any serious nation.
This was part of news broadcast on one of the private television networks recently with the topic ‘Dying Textile Industry.’ Asaba Textile Company was the focal point.
“No country’s industrial sector can ever flourish without the provision of stable, reliable, quality supply of electricity. When the past regime of Goodluck Jonathan lifted the embargo on the importation of ready-made wears in 2010, I wrote a similar history of textile manufacturing companies in Nigeria and how they fared. Eight years on, the story remains unchanged, if anything, it is getting worse.
There is without controversy unscrupulous elements whose stock in trade is to profit from the present horrible situation of non-availability of sufficient electricity supply. The same goes for the poor functioning of textile manufacturing companies in the country, which in the first instance is the fallout of lack of adequate and quality supply of electricity. Therefore, the real enemy of development and progress particularly in this industrial sector may not necessarily be the need to set up hydro plants for electricity among others but, indeed, to muster the willpower and unyielding resoluteness with which to confront or displace those who would not let go.
Textile industry, which is basically powered by quality electricity, is a tremendous source of employment. It can absorb millions of persons, if and or when it is functional. It has prospects to generate foreign exchange thereby mopping up revenue for the federal and state governments. This is true when other African countries begin to depend on Nigeria for the supply of clothing materials for their fashion businesses and other purposes.
Gone are the days when Nigerians embraced the products of the likes of International Textile Industry (I.T.I) at Mushin, Lagos, Texlon at Amuwo Odofin, Enpee at Oshodi, Aswani at Isolo, Boujson Mercedes at Oyingbo, Sunflag at Surulere, Five Star at Isolo and many others. Virtually all the above mentioned textile companies except one have stopped production of clothing materials but re-versified to other businesses.
The N10 billion textile revival fund approved by the Bank of Industry in 2010 is a step in the right direction, which this government has sustained. The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), commending the stride, said that the fund actually increased capacity utilisation from as low as 29.14 per cent to 50 per cent and rising. Similarly, the lunch last year of the National Policy on Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) obviously as part of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) is equally a commendable step assiduously taken by this government towards revamping the textile industry currently in a comatose, hibernate state.
• Steve Orajiaku is a freelance journalist in Lagos State.
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