The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, has reassured the Federal Government’s commitment and determination to revive the textile Industry.
The minister made the declaration during her visit to the headquarters of the National Union of Textiles Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) in Kaduna state where she highlighted some of the steps taken by the government to revive the sector.
In the late 1970 and 80s, the textile sector used to be Nigeria’s foremost industry, being the second largest employer of labour after the government and also utilizing indigenous raw materials such as cotton.
The fortunes of the sector started to decline astronomically down the line due to what industry players say was due to the prevailing unprecedented harsh business environment and inconsistent policies.
Presently, almost all the textile factories in Kaduna, Kano and Lagos are closed down with many of their workers thrown out of job.
The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari in trying to revive the textile sector across the country has reviewed the policy on cotton production, importation of finished products and also addressing the problem of the epileptic power supply which she says are some of the major challenges facing local manufacturers.
Earlier, the General Secretary of the Textiles Workers Union, Issa Aremu, commended the federal government for launching the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He, however, lamented that despite the executive order for the patronage of locally made products by government MDAs, Nigeria continues to spend about $4 billion annually on imported foreign fabrics alone.
It is the expectation of many Nigerians that the revival of the textile industry will provide mass employment for the citizens and also address some of the socioeconomic problems facing the country.
However, industry players say if an urgent step is not taken to address key issues raised by the stakeholders, the ray of hope that had arisen from the Buhari government initiatives may get extinguished.