By Victor Young

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has called for improved border policing to complement the foreign exchange (forex) restriction on textile importation.

It will be recalled that the CBN last week banned the sale of forex to importers of textile materials.

Reacting to the development, Director-General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, said “The decision of the CBN to stop the sale of forex to importers of textile materials is a welcome development. This decision has the potential of breathing life to the textile industry in Nigeria. The over $4 billion expended on the importation of textile materials only serves to deprive other critical sectors the much needed foreign exchange”

Reflecting on the history of the textile industry, Olawale said, “The first modern textile mill in Nigeria, Kaduna Textile Mill, was started in 1956 in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria and between then and 1987, there were 37 textile firms in the country, operating about 716,000 spindles and 17,541 looms.

This period was indeed, the glorious era of the textile industry. With an annual growth rate of 65 percent between 1985 and 1991, while employing about 25 percent of workers in the manufacturing sector, the textile industry, then, could be called the pride of Nigeria.”

While suggesting ways to revive the textile industry beyond the ban on sale of forex to textile importers and the proposed single digit credit, the NECA DG urged that, “Efforts should not be spared in policing our borders.

The porous nature of the borders has made smuggling a lucrative enterprise and this could derail the laudable effort of the CBN in supporting the textile industry.  A coordinated effort by Customs, Immigration and other related agencies involved in keeping the borders secure will go a long way in protecting not only the textile industry but the manufacturing industry as a whole.

Organized businesses urge the federal government not to relent in its efforts at creating a favourable environment for businesses to thrive. An Executive Order to reign in regulatory gangstarism would not be out of place.”


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