House of Representatives has expressed displeasure over the poor implementation of the Industrial Revolution Plan initiated by Federal Government for the revival of cotton, textile and garment (CTG) industries.
Worried by the current status of the industry, the House called for provision of Special Intervention fund for the revival of textile industries in the 2017 budget proposal to be submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari next week, in the bid to facilitate early revival of the sector.
The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government through federal ministries of agriculture and commerce to, as a matter of urgency, ensure the revival of the textile industries in Kaduna, Kano and Aba, as it would further create job opportunities to the unemployed population across the country.
In the bid to forestall moves to turn Nigeria into a dumping ground, the House stressed the need for Nigeria Customs Service to increase surveillance of Nigerian borders with the view to check the activities of smugglers and ensure collections of the right tariffs for all imported textile and other related products.
Recall that N100 billion was approved by the Federal Government to revive the industry, domiciled with the Bank of Industry (BoI).
Speaking recently at a stakeholders’ forum, Waheed Olagunju, acting managing director/chief executive, disclosed that a total of N13.37 billion of the CBN facility had been disbursed to unspecified number of beneficiaries in the CTG sector as of September 30, 2016.
Leading the debate, Sunday Katung decried the lifting of the ban on textile importation in 2010, as 80 percent of textiles across Nigerian markets were imported from China, Indonesia, Taiwan and other countries.
“The House is worried that despite the introduction of an industrial revolution plan aimed at revamping and fast-tracking the growth and development of the cotton, textile and garment sector, and addressing the various problems facing it, it is obvious that, at the moment, one of the most daunting challenges starring the sector in the face is the influx of foreign textiles into the country.
“This trend is definitely not helping the Nigerian economy, in terms of employment/job creation and needed foreign exchange,” Katung said.
According to Katung, Kaduna, which was referred to as Textile City, hosted giant integrated mills and 11 companies including Arewa Textile plc, Fantext Nigeria Limited, Notext Nigeria Limited, Super Text Limited, United Nigeria Textile Limited, while over 7,00 employees of Kaduna Textile Limited were laid off when the company shut down in 2002.
“Presently, it is even hard to believe that the Nigerian textile industry once occupied an enviable spot of being the third largest in Africa in the 80s, generating as much as $2 billion annually and with a capacity of producing more than 1.4 billion different pieces of textiles products, including African prints, shirting, bed sheets, furnishing fabrics, towels, embroidery lace, table and bed linen, guinea brocades, wax prints, Jutes and fishing nets,” he said.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke in favour of the motion including: Albert Adeogun, Mohammed Wudil, Bashir Babale, Abubakar Kanike and Mohammed Monguno, expressed regrets over the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government towards addressing various challenges bedevilling the sector.
Also speaking, Kanike stressed the need for the Federal Government to fix critical infrastructure and provide requisite technology that would make the real sector thrive.
He also emphasised the need for the provision of incentives that would encourage Chinese textile industry to invest and collaborate with Nigeria.
On his part, Mohammed Monguno, chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, called for investment in cotton production.