By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the leather products industry will generate over $1 billion by the year 2025 and create employment for over 700,000 people.
The Vice President made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the formal launch and sensitisation workshop on the National Leather and Leather Products Policy Implementation Plan.
Prof. Osinbajo said that the Leather Products value chain will afford Nigeria over 70% increase in foreign exchange earnings in a few years from now.
Prof. Osinbajo who described the implementation of the leather Products Policy as holistic added that it will also provide a more sustainable infrastructure development plan and guaranteed access to credit facilities for business people.
He said Nigeria’s emergence as a regional leader in leather products is now. He further said that countries like Spain, Italy, China and the West African sub-region are prime destinations for Nigerian leather products.
Osinbajo in his keynote address, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu the Minister of Science and Technology hailed the leather products policy as the first strategic implementation plan for the leather and leather products policy in Nigeria.
“The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is supporting this important initiative through offering leadership in the transformation of our economy from a resource-based to a knowledge and innovation-driven one.”
Dr Onu further said the policy will help the effective and efficient exploitation of Nigeria’s natural resources, earn and conserve foreign exchange, create jobs and help promote the country’s drive for self-reliance.
He called on all relevant stakeholders to facilitate both foreign and domestic investments.
He said, “We need to transform our plan into action, we need all stakeholders to work together, we need to involve the Organised Private Sector, we need to bring in more investment, both domestic and foreign into the leather industry”.
On his part, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi said the implementation plan is delicate and vital to reposition Nigeria for socio-economic growth and development.
He said that the implementation plan covers eight thematic areas which are; Research and Development, Governance, Intellectual Property Rights, E-Leather, Compliance, Environment and social best practices, standards, marketing and patronage, Funding as well as fiscal measures and critical Infrastructure.
He also noted that if the leather policy is fully implemented, it will create an enabling environment that will sustain all-inclusive growth for local and small enterprises as well attract and protect investments, improve production output and promote innovation in the country.