The Apparels and Accessories Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (AAMAN), has urged the Federal Government to come up with the right policies by creating an enabling environment for apparel manufacturers in Nigeria to compete favourably with China.
AAMAN believes the industry is highly under-tapped considering Bangladesh, an emerging market with similar population size like Nigeria, was the highest exporter of apparel in 2021 with $35.81billion.
“We are mainly saying that the government should give us an enabling environment and a fair chance to compete with China. Give us waivers to be able to bring in these textiles duty-free, and let us only do the stitches,” said Folake Oyemade, the president of AAMAN, stating that apparel manufacturers in Nigeria have the right expertise when it comes to stitches and presentation. “If we are given this kind of fair chance, things will work well for us”.
With a growing population of over 200 million people, the association has suggested that basic items like boxers for men and other promotional shirts (T-Shirts/Polo) should for now be banned from entering the market to create a fair chance for local manufacturers to compete with imported products in terms of having the right fabrics.
“If it becomes contraband – yes, we do know that there is a possibility of smuggling; yet they will have to pay through their nose and do so much to be able to get it in. Nigeria is a huge market with a huge potential,” said Oyemade, who however decried the fact that items like ‘Ankara and Aso-Oke’ should ordinarily be a heritage and source of income to local manufacturers are being produced in China and imported into the country.
On the back of this, AAMAN believes it can only be a win-win situation for all stakeholders in the country should the government listen and heed her demand to ensure constant production of apparels within the country. “AAMAN offers a common voice to improve and sustain the apparel and accessories sector in Nigeria and position it amongst the world’s largest manufacturers”.
Similarly, AAMAN has urged the federal government to grant members of the association some waivers to help sustain the growth of the sector. “If you enable us, bring in the raw materials for free. If the government gives us a waiver with Customs and they allow us to do the regular documentation to bring in these raw materials, and of course make sure that the wholesalers in the market cannot import them anymore,” said Oyemade, stating that AAMAN can make collective requests.
According to Oyemade, the country has been sitting on the goldmine without tapping because there have been no fora before AAMAN to portray and project the potentials of the sector.
She posits that having the right information out in the public about local factories manufacturing apparels and accessories with similar quality of fabrics and better stitches will make Nigerians buy locally.
“We believe that the apparel manufacturing sector is the highest employer of labor and can create wealth for the government, contribute to the GDP growth of our country’s economy. Nigeria has the potential to be the superpower of Africa with population and resources, the manpower and technical know-how; if only we can just have the right policy to back the whole thing up,” Oyemade stated.