Stakeholders in the textile industry on Tuesday stressed the need for government to revive the textile industry and create more jobs. The call was made at the opening of the 21st Annual National Education Conference of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGWN) in Benin.
In his speech, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, former governor of Kaduna State, blamed the problems bedeviling the textile industry on selfish interests of some persons. Musa, who is the guest speaker at the occasions, said that due to these interests, government had not been able to tackle the problem of smuggling the way it should.
â€œThe textile industry as the second employer of labour is suffering because of importation and smuggling of textile materials,â€™â€™ he said. Musa urged government to tackle the problem so that it would not spread to other sectors of the economy and make Nigeria only an importer and not a producing nation.
Mr Reginald Uwa, NUTGWN President, said that the global economic recession had aggravated the problem of the industry and needed urgent attention. Uwa said that only new ideas from the conference could bring hope and revitalise the sector.Mr Issa Aremu, General Secretary of the NUTGWN, said that the Nigerian crisis started before the global economic meltdown.
Aremu explained that the situation was only worsened because there was no intervention from the government. He said that high rate of unemployment, communal violence and criminality (kidnapping) were signs of economic crisis which had affected the economic growth of the country.
â€œWe cannot blame our problem on the global economic crisis. Let us look at how other countries were able to handle the crisis and come up with policies that will help solve our problems.â€œPresident Umaru Yarâ€™â€™adua has promised 6,000 mega watts of electricity, it is for us to achieve that target so as to re-open closed factories and industries,â€™â€™ Aremu said.
He urged government to develop agenda on good governance, eliminate corruption and ensure the implementation of policies that could rebuild and develop the country. The two-day conference with the theme; Industry, Labour and Global Economic Crisis is being attended by more than 1,000 textile workers from Kaduna, Kano and Lagos.