By Franklin Alli
The Minister ofÂ Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa might endorse Banquaires Facilities Intâ€™l Ltdâ€™s(bf) blueprint to restore the nationâ€™s comatose textile industry to its lost glory.
Managing Director / Global CEO of the enterprise promotion firm, Mr . Adesanmi Felix Adeduro, told newsmen in Lagos that the blueprint had been submitted to the Minister for his approval and action.
He strongly believes that the implementation of the proposals as contained in the document would go a long way to revive the sector which he said used to be the next to agricultural sector in terms ofÂ employment generation and foreign exchange earnings some four decades ago.
He stated that in view of the foregoing, the company has also concluded arrangements to host an international conference for the resuscitation of the ailing textile industry.
The event, he disclosed,Â will holdÂ early in SeptemberÂ in Lagos. The objectives of the conference, he said are: â€œ To shift global attention and focus to the huge potentialities and attractions of Nigeriaâ€™s Textile Industry, to restore the lost fortunes and glory of the Textile Industry. To attract re-engineering tools, aids and capital for the firms operating in the Industry, to create one-stop room for foreign investors and industrialists who are desirous of coming into the industry, and to create base instruments and inputs for the much desired Nigeriaâ€™s textile policy and to repositioned the industry for Nigeriaâ€™s sustainable economic growth and global economic functionality.â€
Mr. Prem Malik, immediate past Chairman of Cotton Textile Exporters Council of India, among other international and local industry experts will be on hand to rub minds with the conference delegates.
He recalled that one industry that witnessed monumental prosperity then was the Nigeriaâ€™s Textile Industry. By the close of the 80â€™s, the sub sector had about 124 Textile Firms in full operation-largely meeting clothing demands Nigeriaâ€™s ever increasing population and even the demand from the outside the country with little or no competition from other West African Producers such as Ghana, Benin Republic, Senegal and Gambia.
The Nigeriaâ€™s Textile Industry emerged before the Countryâ€™s Independence in 1960. The Industry was then pioneered by Asians who had excelled primarily in the business back home. Along with the then veritable agricultural sector, The Textile Industry formed the pillars of the Post Independent Nigeria.
As at mid to late 80â€™s, the industry generated massive direct and indirect employment opportunities to Nigerians and created corollary support to hundreds of thousand of Nigerians who traded on products from the Industry. The rural market boomed as well as the great expansion in the urban markets where traders and textile dealers operated.
The latter yearâ€™s drift of our economy into oil and gas denominated one and seeming lack ofÂ vision on the part of operators in the Industry caused a damaging shift of focus from agriculture and manufacturing-textile industry inclusive.
This state was apparently stoked by the era of mass consumption and demonstration effects which rolled in along with SAP. With this era, massive and unbridled importation of textile materials took a firm root. The inability of local producers to effectively respond to this in terms of pricing, quality and quantity created an ever deepening gulf between local production and importation.
Today, the country has less than 30 textile companies in full time operation ,Â meeting less than 5 per cent of the countryâ€™s textile requirements. Others have closed down as a result of multi-dimensional challenges which have to do with power crisis, incessant labour unrest, in-availability of cheap loans and working capitals, obsolete equipments, inadequacy of skilled human resource element, unbridled importation of textile materials and lack of Textile/Industial policy.