By Franklin Alli
LOCAL carpets and rugs manufacturers, under the umbrella of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has implored the Federal Government, saying â€œdo not allow the carpet industry to die.â€
It willÂ be recalled that the sector, which used to boast of 25 active companies in the 1980s and 90s, is now left with only four firms in existence. They are Kano-based Jay Kay Carpets Industries, Nobel Carpets, Lagos, Calabar-based Jackson Devos Ltd, the manufacturers of crown carpets andÂ International Carpets.
According to the associationâ€™s President, Mr. Mohit Manglani, in spite of the ban on imported carpets and rugs, high influx of imported products, high energy cost and tariff are seriously working against local manufacturers.
Manglani said the manufacturers strongly believe in the strength of the Nigerian economy and the important roles carpet manufacturers play in the global economy, and urged government to strictly protect the industry so that it doesnâ€™t go the way of the textile industry.
â€œWe, as association members are active participants in the Nigerian economy. Over the last two years, our members have put in N5bn to upgrade our technology and facilities so as to comfortably give to the Nigerian consumers high quality products of international standards.â€
On product quality, he declared: â€œOur members have highly rated quality control process in place. So there is noÂ problem of quality as our production processes are certified by International Standards Organisation (ISO), and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (NIS). We have the best technology to produce them and Nigerian consumers should think positively about locally made carpets and rugs.â€
Manglani, who is also the Managing Director of JayKay Carpet Industries, said that the manufacturers believe in the role they play in the economy. They provide jobs and understand that the benefit of a strong local industry is the provision of foreign exchange unlike importation which depletes the countryâ€™sÂ foreign exchange.
In the same vein, Chief Iniobong Jackson, vice-president of the association and managing director of Jackson Devos Ltd, said: â€œCarpets play an important role and as manufacturers, we will continue to play our role in the economy by providing employment and revenue to government.â€
He noted that in the history of Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa, carpet is the only product apart from oil that is being exported from the country.Â This is because the quality of carpets being produced is high with the sectorâ€™s contributions to the GDP on the increased in the past five years.
Stressing that production is very difficult, Jackson called on government to provide special incentives to the manufacturing sector as they help government in providing employment, otherwise, more people will be thrown into the unemployment market.
â€œThe cost of power is increasing as well as other factors and if it does not decrease, then it will be difficult to reduce prices. Nobody wants to sell at high prices; the essence of production is for it to get to the consumers.â€
â€œPeople seem to have the impression that the manufacturers just fix prices as they like. Nobody wants to sell at high prices as the essence of production is for it to get to the consumers but the high cost of power makes it difficult to reduce prices. The manufacturers donâ€™t enjoy monopoly and dealers should not stop others who want to buy from buying because it is their right to sell to their own customers.