By Cynthia Ezekwe.
Textile manufacturers in Nigeria have advocated for special grants from the federal government to revive the country’s textile industry, which is becoming moribund.
According to industry players, Nigeria, which used to boast of nearly 200 textile mills, no longer has up to 20 mills in operation. Moreover, the sector notable for the employment of 500,00 workers in its heyday currently has an employment capacity of about 20,000 workers and has not been able to attract new investors for over a decade.
Commenting on the current situation of the textile industry in Nigeria, Otuekong Jackson Udo, the pioneer president, Nigerian Association of Carpet Manufacturers, said more than 30 textile companies in Nigeria have gone extinct over the years and over 60,000 workers have lost their jobs while support companies, suppliers, distributors, carriers and other stakeholders are no longer in the operation.
Speaking to newsmen recently in Calabar,Cross River State capital, Udo explained that local textile companies such as Jackson Devos, Aswani and many others have been static, due to their executive role and fight for democracy under the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) government. He stressed that for any economy to thrive, the government as a matter of necessity and urgency should bring back the industries which are the backbone of any economy.
Udo commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration for its interest towards reviving the manufacturing sector by encouraging more participation from the private sector.
“Any country that does not pay great attention to the development of its private sector, which includes the small scale industries, cannot create the required and much-desired employment for its citizens,’’ he noted.
Udo, therefore, urged the government to consider providing special intervention grants to manufacturers, with proper monitoring mechanisms to ensure that only companies with requisite structure and infrastructure benefit from such support.
He stressed that any country relying on importation of most products the citizens consume cannot enjoy a stable economy because of certain economic deficiencies and market forces. Thus, calling on the government to make haste and revive the defunct textile industry.