The Federal Government has made some investments towards reviving the textile industry but a lot still needs to be done.
The textile industry is a viable sector that can provide millions of jobs for Nigerians. It also has the capacity to create thousands of jobs for individuals involved in direct and indirect businesses along the value chain. It is a sector that can boost the nation’s quest for industrialisation.
There is the need for both the federal and state governments to invest more in the textile industry and ensure that such investments are well managed. There should also be adequate training for those involved in the production process on modern practices and the use of cutting edge technologies.
While it is necessary to make more money available in the sector, efforts must be made to ensure prudence and accountability in the management of such funds.
It is also important to ensure the adoption of modern technologies in order to revamp Nigeria’s ailing textile industry. The Federal Government should collaborate with state governments to secure the investments already made towards reviving this sector. Nigeria will truly play its leadership role in Africa with the revival of the textile industry. When the textile industry is revived, it will feed other industries by providing raw materials for them. It will also create wealth for artistically minded Nigerians as well as improve the lot of farmers who will be engaged in the production of cotton. With that, the living standard of the people will increase and they can diversify into other productive areas. The textile industry must not only be revived for primary production but for secondary and even tertiary levels. The value chain addition will be so great that Nigerian can earn a lot of foreign exchange and compete favourably with other global players.
The task of reviving the textile industry should not be left for the government alone. All other stakeholders such as farmers, labour organisations, artisans, tailors and others involved in the value chain must be truly committed to the good cause of reviving the textile industry. • Tee Thompson (Managing Partner, African Trade Business Centre)
To me, government is not doing enough. A lot of things need to be done to revive the textile industry. When there is no electricity, how do you produce? The manpower or human resources are there, Nigerians are ready to work at any time. But the means of production is not there, without electricity, you cannot produce. You and I know that the epileptic nature of electricity supply in the country is not leading us anywhere and because of that, the cost of production is very high. Nobody is willing to venture into production because of the state of electricity supply in Nigeria.
If anybody wants to do something about the textile industry in Nigeria, the person should first do something about the power situation. Apart from that, look at the cost of fueling generators. The cost of moving materials from one state to another is very high. With this, surviving in the market becomes very difficult. So to me, the Federal Government is not ready; it is not doing anything at all. We cannot see the signs. The Federal Government should do everything possible to improve power supply. When that is done, the cost of production will reduce. Also, if the cost of buying fuel is low, one can decide to transport raw materials to a factory at a distance.
If the Federal Government wants to revive the textile industry, it should increase subsidy and reduce the cost of fueling generators as well as the cost of petrol used by commercial vehicles. Even when finished products are moved into the market, with the high cost of transport, the cost of the products would go up. Considering that, what the average civil servant receives as salary cannot take him home, such civil servants cannot afford to buy these goods. So, when power and cost of fuel is addressed, the cost of production will come down and people would be able to afford the final products. Also, smaller textile industries can spring up. • Marshal Orue (Edo State Chairman, Trade Union Congress)
As a labour leader, I have not seen the dividends of the Federal Government’s efforts aimed at reviving the textile industry in Nigeria. We can’t compare what is happening in that industry now to what happened in the past. In the past, you hardly see any geo-political zone without a textile industry.
If you go to these places today, the premises of most of the textile industries have become warehouse or church buildings. If the Federal Government is actually working towards reviving this sector, the impact would have been visible by now.
Today, you can probably find textile industries only in Kano and Kaduna unlike what obtained before. As far as I’m concerned, I have not seen any reasonable effort or impact of the Federal Government towards reviving this sector. You can only revive the industry when you have constant and adequate availability of raw materials. The major raw material for the textile industry is cotton. How many farmers do we have that are today involved in the production of this raw material? The Federal Government must support the farmers to ensure the availability of this raw material.
Also, the power sector must be totally overhauled. The epileptic power supply is not helpful to any effort to revive the industry because power is a major determinant factor of production and you must consider this input when calculating the cost of production. If the cost of production is high, at what rate will you sell to the public to break even and make a profit?
If you are producing at a loss, how can you survive? Don’t forget, the selling price must be favourable. If it is cheaper to get foreign textile materials nobody would opt for our local fabrics. Although, there is a bit of improvement in power generation and distribution, it is insignificant when you consider its impact on the economy. Although the Federal Government is trying its best, its best is still not enough. •Ade Adesanmi (Ekiti State chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress).
I believe the Federal Government should do more than it is currently doing to revive the textile industry. That sector is very important and the crisis that currently exists in the industry has thrown many people out of work.
I think the Federal Government should provide the funds it promised to give manufacturers involved in this sector in order to revive the industry. This will help the moribund textile mills to come back to life.
I will like the government to ensure the availability of constant supply of electricity because these textile mills depend on electricity to power their equipment.
No matter the efforts being made to revive the industry, the textile mills will return to a state of crisis if electricity supply is epileptic.
Electricity is the backbone of industrial development and many companies left Nigeria for other countries where they are sure of constant power supply and our people are suffering the effect of the decision of these companies to set up shop elsewhere.
Aside from this, government officials at all levels as well as individuals should encourage the industry by patronising locally-produced textile materials. We cannot be manufacturing clothes here and still be buying imported ones; it will kill our own companies. This is one aspect that is also very important and we all need to buy local products to keep our local manufacturers in business.
To achieve this, the government must make sure that our international borders are well manned to prevent smugglers from bringing in textile materials from other countries. • Jacob Adekomi (Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress Osun State)
The question to ask is has this administration fulfilled its campaign promises to the manufacturing and industrial sector?
The textile sector was at some point in our history the largest employer of labour outside of agriculture.
Over the years, policy inconsistencies which allowed for the dumping of finished goods on Nigerians led to the demise of this once vibrant industry.
I had expected that this administration, which promised to address the slump in the industrial sector through properly thought out policies, will make a difference, but what do we have today?
There is little or nothing to show that the government is serious about reviving this industry. To answer your question, there is nothing serious that this government has done to show that it has any intention to revive the textile industry. • Abdullahi Jalo (Legal practitioner, politician and businessman)
Compiled by: Success Nwogu, Femi Makinde, Kamarudeen Ogundele, and Alexander Okere