The Federal Government is moving to make the nation’s textile sector number one in Africa, Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, has said.
Aganga made the assertion recently during the Stakeholders Retreat on the Cotton, Textile and Garment sub-Sector of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan in Abuja, noting that Government was coming up with actionable points to kick-start the needed revolution.
The minister said that about 8070 jobs have been saved through the disbursement of the N100 billion Cotton Textile Garment Intervention, confirming that 38 textile firms has so far benefitted from the Fund.
Figures from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) show that capacity utilization in this sector has increased significantly from 29.14 percent in 2010 to 49.7 percent as at 2011.
According to the minister, a number of hitherto moribund textile mills have been reopened, and about 8,070 jobs have been saved while over 5,000 new jobs have been created. ‘‘We cannot continue to be a raw material exporting nation because by doing so, we are exporting jobs, development and wealth. This is one area that the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan is trying to address,’’ he said.
Continuing, he said that the textile industry is one of those areas the Federal Government is looking at developing, by removing the barriers to increased productivity in the sector, among which is access to affordable finance.
‘‘Today, we need more than N100 billion to be able to get to where we want to be, because textile is one sector that creates significant amount of jobs globally. So for Nigeria, investing in the textile industry makes sense from the economic point of view, including that of job creation,’’ he said.
Aganga further explained that the Ministry of industry Trade and Investment was working with stakeholders in the textile industry to address the current challenges facing the sector in order to reposition it as the major driver of job creation and wealth generation in the country.