• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Boost for leather industry as footwear export hits $63m

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The leather industry received a big boost in 2014 as the value of exports of footwear, gaiters and the like reached $62.9 million within the year, data collated by Cobalt International Services and released by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) show.

According to the data, export values of the leather commodities were $14.9 million and $17.7 million in the first and second quarters of 2014, respectively.

Similarly, the values of exports of these commodities totalled $14.5 million in the third quarter and $15.8 million in the last quarter of 2014.

Also, export value of lead, a key solid mineral, amounted to $46.7 million in the whole of 2014. In the first quarter, export value of the mineral totalled $14.7 million but reduced to $11.1 million in the second quarter of the same year.

Also, export values of lead hit $9.1 million in the third quarter and further increased to $11.8 million in the fourth and last quarter.

Nigeria exports leather to the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States such as Togo, Mali, Niger, Gambia, Burkina Faso and Liberia, among others.

Skins, hides and leather from Nigeria are also bought in large quantity by Italy, Spain and many European countries.

But this sector is stifled by a number of problems, notably lack of finance and short tenor of funds provided by banks.

“We sincerely need finance to drive this industry,” Nnabugwu Osondu, secretary, Abia State Shoe, Bag, Belt and Trunk Box Association, told Real Sector Watch.

“We often approach banks for finance, but they give us difficult conditions that we cannot meet. It is difficult because many of us are in the small-and medium-scale category.

“But with adequate finance, each of the 80,000 members can employ at least 10 more people, meaning that we will take 800,000 Nigerians out of the streets and help drive the country’s diversification quest,” Osondu said.

 

ODINAKA ANUDU