…Seeks effective implementation of EO3 for industry’s recovery
Organised labour, at the weekend, said the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to create 100 million jobs within a decade would be realised, if the textile industry is fully revived. This is even as it has called for the full implementation of the Executive Order (EO) 003 on support of local content by relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to facilitate full recovery of the sector.
The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), at its zonal workshop and 82nd Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Lagos, noted that the textile industry remained a critical plank for addressing unemployment challenges in the country.
President of the union, John Adaji, and acting secretary-general, Ali Baba, said this in a communique issued at the end of the meeting that the Nigerian Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) sector alone has the capacity to create over five million jobs, improve internally generated revenue, reduce over $4 billion import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel, safeguard and earn foreign exchange for the country.
Having identified lack of patronage as one of its major problems, the union emphasized that the Executive Order (EO) 003 on local content if fully implemented would reposition the textile industry.
The union noted that the sector was a huge market for Nigeria, if local production could be increased through effective implementation of the order.
The union’s president pledged that the body would intensify campaigns to ensure relevant agencies of government complied with the executive order by patronising locally produced textiles.
While commending the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the direct intervention to address the issue of cotton scarcity, he urged President Buhari to ensure holistic implementation of the CTG policy.
On intervention to ameliorate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and the textile industry in particular through palliatives, the union commended the CBN for the N50 billion revival fund to revive the ailing textile industry at 4.5 per cent interest rate.
The union said the measures have helped to save over 15,000 jobs in the industry, adding that the sector did not record any job loss over the lockdowns and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the union sought further reduction in interest rate and extension of the moratorium given the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the textile industry.
In spite of the efforts to revive the industry, the workers said the sector was still confronted with many challenges like inadequate and costly electricity supply, smuggling, which is still endemic, poor patronage, poor infrastructure, high taxation and interest rates and the depreciating value of the naira.
Even as the union commended officers of the Nigeria Customs Service for recorded some achievements in combating smuggling, it urged that more should be done.
He said, “Customs Service should come out with new creative measures that must include consistent raids of the warehouses of smugglers in Kano, Lagos, Kaduna and other cities of the federation.”
Adaji also called for the establishment of a presidential task force, including the union, with the power to confiscate goods smuggled into the country.
He added that, since the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), recently signed by Nigeria would commence next year, if President Buhari’s vision of revival of textile industry is realised, Nigeria would be positioned to trade in fabrics and benefit from the $3 trillion AfCTA trade agreement in view.