The Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, at the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja, yesterday has described the “historic” deal involving the nation’s cotton farmers, textile companies and the military.
The first MOU was between the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) and Ginning Companies, to guarantee steady off-take and processing of cotton lint and cotton seeds while the second MOU was between the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association and the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Nigeria Police, Paramilitary Institutions & National Youth Service Corps to facilitate long-term contracts (5 years or more) with Textile and Garment companies to manufacture uniforms in Nigeria for use by various arms of Nigeria’s uniform services.
Gov Emefiele said that the deal was in furtherance of the implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 003, compelling government agencies to prioritise local products in their procurements.
He said: “Today’s MOU signing sets a significant milestone for enforcement of Mr President’s Executive Order 003 as well as foster closer business collaboration among these stakeholders on a sustainable basis. This ceremony also represents a landmark event being part of the measures the CBN along with other stakeholders such as the NACOTAN, Nigerian Ginners Association, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers and Garments Association, Armed Forces and Uniformed Services, have embarked upon in order to revive Nigeria’s Cotton, Textiles and Garments (CTG) sector through ensuring local sourcing of all uniformed services and hospital theatre wears.”
The CBN boss said that before the advent of the current administration, the Nigerian cotton, textiles and garment sector was facing very difficult challenges, resulting not only in the closure of over 150 textiles firms in Nigeria but also loss of over 2 million jobs in the 1990s beginning from the cotton farmers, to the ginneries and textile firms .
“Farmers and processors had to deal with low-quality seeds, rising operating cost and weak sales due to high energy cost of running factories, smuggling of textile goods, and poor access to finance,” he said.
According to the governor, smuggling of textiles goods alone was estimated to have cost the nation an import bill of over $4 billion annually on textiles and apparel.
He regretted that the situation led to a record loss of jobs, with current sector employment standing at a mere 20,000.
“A large proportion of our clothing materials are imported from Asia and countries in Europe. Today we are here to witness a paradigm shift not only through well-crafted and carefully planned actions that are holistic and will encompass every node of the CTG value chain.
N19.18bn for ginneries
Mr Emefiele’s words, “Today’s ceremony is a result of almost two years of painstaking activities and consultations with key stakeholders in the CTG value chain. Back in May 2019, we took the first step in this journey in Katsina State with the flag-off of input distribution to 150,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 150,000 hectares in 23 States of the Federation. Currently, the cotton planted by these hardworking farmers has begun fruiting and will soon be ready for off-taking from the Month of November.
“Furthermore, we are improving the linkage between cotton farmers and ginneries, by ensuring that ginneries are able to off-take the high-quality cotton produced by these farmers.
“In this regard, approval to a tune of N19.18billion has been granted to finance nine (9) ginneries with a view to retooling their processing plants, while providing them with improved access to finance at a single-digit interest rate.
“This is to help sustain their operations and improve their production capacity. The same support will be extended to the textile and garment firms. We have invested heavily in our local textile and garment factories to retool and produce assorted uniforms for our uniformed services that meet international standards.
“We believe that these steps which we are embarking on today, will not only resuscitate this vital sector, but it will also help support our efforts at creating jobs for a large number of Nigerians.”
A Textile Revival Implementation Committee (TRIC) which included the CBN, Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Water Resources; Industry, Trade and Investment; and the Governments of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe and the Zamfara States, he said, has been constituted.