BY MICHAEL EBOH & ROSEMARY ONUOHA
LAGOS—About N100 billion invested by the Federal Government to revive the Nigerian textile industry seems to have gone down the drain, as the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture, yesterday, disclosed that the Cotton Textile Garment Intervention Fund has failed.
Speaking during a visit to Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, National President, NACCIMA, said the intervention failed because the issues of raw materials and machineries were not taken into consideration before putting up the programme.
He said, “If you give loan on an existing factory to develop, when the raw material is not being supplied competitively, when the loan is not enough to change the machineries completely to be competitive to world standard, you are not going to make it. It is just like putting a new engine in a broken car. You cannot get the result.”
According to him, to ensure the revival of the textile sector, a number of issues should have been put in place, such as ensuring that the country is competing effectively in the production of cotton according to world standard and also that our machineries are producing effectively and efficiently to world standards and are able to make the companies compete favourably.
He said, “Firstly, the major raw material is the cotton, secondly is the machineries, if they are not around how can we be competitive by world standard? Thirdly, training, how do we train people to work competitively?
“So these are the issues being developed on the textile industry. When they finish the research we will start first with the agricultural development of long fibre cotton and if it is being produced and developed competitively, then you get the investors, maybe in conjunction with other existing investor to go mega with bigger industries that will give that competitive edge.
“We allow ourselves to be importing the textiles and those factories in China are really mega and huge. To be able to compete with them we need to have a scheme similar to that of cement and that is what the government is doing now.
He disclosed that at present, NACCIMA and the Federal Ministry of Industry are looking at the reasons why the intervention did not work, in order to forestall future occurrence.
He also announced its intention to partner with Vanguard Newspaper and other media houses in setting up a National Working Plan on how to increase the production and availability of newsprint in Nigeria.
He lamented the increasing importation of newsprint into the country despite the fact that the country has the capacity to be a major exporter of the commodity.
According to him, Nigeria has the competitive advantage of producing newsprint because we have vast landmass and our agricultural development, if well enhanced will be able to produce the raw material at a reasonable price.
“We will put up a consortium of business men and investors and also work with newspaper houses and other users of the product to determine the actual demand of the product, draw up a work plan and then we will talk to the appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to discuss our proposals and also ask for