By Prince Okafor
The Nigerian leather industry has been projected to generate over $1 billion by 2025, the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) stated in its 2019 macro-economic outlook report.
The macro-economic outlook report is an annual publication of NESG that reviews the Nigerian economy and provides policy options.
Reporting on the theme, “Steering Nigeria through the inclusive growth pathway: What Strategy Should the Government Adopt?”, Mr Olusegun Omisakin, Head of Research, NESG, noted that the leather value chain market is huge with immense potential of unlocking value across the industry and reducing unemployment rate with projected foreign exchange earnings of over $1billion by the year 2025.
“In addition, the leather processing sector employs over 750,000 workers with about 500,000 workers in the finished leather goods sector,” he said.
The report further stated: “With about 61 million units, Nigeria has the largest resource of goatskin and kidskin in Africa representing 46 per cent and 18 per cent of the total in West Africa and Africa, respectively. Being a dominant producer in Africa, the country also contributes about 60 per cent to the West African production of goatskin and kidskin.
“Domestically, the industry represents the second major earner of foreign exchange after oil with total export of tanned skins amounting to about $240 million in 2015. With over 50 million skins of animals being processed annually by tanneries together with other related activities, the leather industry contributes about 24 per cent of the total agriculture GDP in Nigeria.
“However, while Nigeria is a net exporter of raw hides and skins including semi-processed leather, it is also a net importer of finished leather products with total imports of about $500 million worth leather products annually.
“More so, the lingering challenges in the industry such as structural barriers, poor visibility and lack of government intervention have led to a revenue loss of about $300 million annually.
“This narrative shows the need for value addition in Nigeria’s leather value chain to upgrade its position in the regional and global trade of leather commodities. This will have huge implications on backward integration, employment generation, industrial deepening, increased productivity and competitiveness.”