The Presidency has directed immediate inauguration of a special committee that would address the challenges facing the nation’s ailing textile industry.
The move, according to Presidency sources, was scripted to herald the revival of the country’s productive sector, under the administration’s economic diversification programme.
The 17-man committee, to be headed by the Director of Agriculture in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, D.E. Eniaiyeju, would, as part of its terms of reference, identify the current constraints, challenges of cotton, textile and garment sub-sector and offer practical solutions to the challenges, among others.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sonny Echono, who disclosed this while inaugurating the committee in Abuja, lamented that cotton, textile and garments industries across the country have become “shadows of themselves” due to influx of cheap textile materials, inconsistent government policies and dumping of sub-standard textile materials in the country.
Echono revealed that the setting up of the committee was part of the Presidential directive during the recent meeting of the top officials of the Ministry with Buhari in Aso Rock.
While speaking on the need for the resuscitation of cotton, textile and garments industry in Nigeria, he noted that the sub-sector used to employ over 400,000 workers, which has significantly reduced to about 30,000.
According to him, “ the United Nigeria Textiles Limited in Kaduna and other textile factories across the country employed over 400,000 Nigerians, but today, they are ghosts of themselves. Only about 30,000 workers are working in all these textile factories.
“Worried and concerned on the need to create jobs and add value, because we are spending so much money in importing garments, Mr. President gave this charge to set up this committee.
“Only last week, we heard about another unfavourable news that a ginnery in Kano was about closing down.
“So, Mr. President directed that we must take a holistic approach to ensure that we resuscitate the textile industry, which starts from the production of cotton and its quality.”
Echono further said that out of the 51 ginneries across the country, only 22 are fully operational, with ginning capacity utilization of 30 per cent.
He however expressed optimism that the nation’s textile industry has the potential to compete with the best in the world, adding that President Buhari led administration is irrevocably committed to ensuring substantial growth in high quality cotton production, to feed textile and garment industry, thereby bringing back a thriving textile and garments industry.
The committee has two weeks to submit its report for onward transmission to Mr. President.