Nigerian cotton and textile sector once was actually the second largest employer of labour and a critical sector of the economy. There has been a decline due to a number of factors. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved policy measures aimed at repositioning the nationâ€™s cotton, textile, garment (CTG), and fashion sectors of the economy.
The new policy will be addressing all the issue that has been affecting the textile sector such as high cost of funding, high cost of energy, obsolete equipment and plants and machinery, quality and quantity of cotton, a lot of contamination, smuggling, counterfeiting and dumping.
The policy measures cut across different sectors and are the most comprehensive plan put in place.
According the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the policy, which is part of the National Industry Revolution Plan (NIRP) covers the entire fashion value chain from cotton to designing.
He said that there was no better time to intensify implementation of the NIRP than now in view of the huge pressure on the nationâ€™s foreign reserves due to falling oil prices.
Globally, the CTG sector is a market of about 2.5 trillion dollars, accounting for about 3.6 per cent of the worldâ€™s economy. In terms of export, it accounts for about 800 billion (dollars); direct employment, close to 60 million and of course indirect (employment) close to 300 million.
The industrial infrastructure, including 15 integrated textile and garment parks, would be established in different parts of the country.
He said that the establishment of the parks, whose sites had been identified, would be based on a number of factors including nearness to raw materials and market, and the availability of support infrastructure.
The policy also contains measures that will address the issues of power supply, financing, availability of pure cotton, and the availability of local market for cotton products.
The Federal Government would be working closely with some higher institutions of learning as training on fashion designing was an integral part of the policy.
The new policy measure also has some incentives for existing players in the sector and also for new investors coming in within the next two years.
The last area of policy measures is local patronage, where all military and paramilitary agencies and government schools must purchase only
Nigerian made textiles and garments for their uniforms once the requisite standards are met.
In addition, private schools would be encourage and given incentives to source their materials locally.
The minister would be holding a meeting with major players in the industry in the next few days to study the policy and governmentâ€™s implementation strategies.
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