By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
THE National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to review its policies and consider tax wavers for textile industries to encourage investment and fair competition.
President of NUTGTWN, Comrade John Adaji made the appeal on Monday at the union’s.Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Industrialisatoon and Employment in Nigeria in ccollaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, FES, held in Abuja.
Comrade Adaji contended that textile industry remains the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for most national economies of developing nations like Nigeria
He, however submitted that, “There is still a huge gap between official policy pronouncements and implementation. Even with all these positive indications, there are still a number of challenges.
“The current state of affairs in the country and the continent in general necessitates the need for us to intensify our advocacy and campaign for sustainable industrialization and employment. We are concerned about the precarious situation of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria particularly as it affects the textile industry and its implication for our members’ welfare, jobs and employment in general.
“Employment in the textile industry continues to decline with attendant decline in union membership.”
Continuing, he said, “The point cannot be overstated. The future of Nigeria and Africa lies in adding value to its abundant raw materials and creation of sustainable jobs. Employment generation and employment retention as well as poverty eradication largely depend on the amount of value-addition through industrialisation and degree of diversification of the economy.
“Textile Industry remains the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for most national economies of developing nations like Nigeria.
“It is against the above background that we are embarking on this Policy Dialogue to sustain the pressure and advocacy for friendly business environment, stable macro-economic policy, consistent, clear and focused industrial strategy that will provide support and incentives for manufacturing activities, ensure value addition and decent job creation in the country.
“The government needs to take urgent steps to review its policies and consider tax wavers for our industries to encourage investment and encourage fair competition.
“Smuggling is the major killer of textile industry in Nigeria. The issue of smuggling must be decisively dealt with if we are to keep the remaining industries and employment in the sector. “
He commended Africa’s foremost industrialist and President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for throwing his weight behind the clamour for the revival of Nigeria’s ailing textile manufacturing industry.
“Alhaji Aliko Dangote recently urged the National Assembly to pass a law that would penalise sale of banned textiles materials by imprisoning culprits without any option of fine.
“We commend Alhaji Dangote not just for his patriotic investment in value added manufacturing but also for his firm stand on the need for tough measures to save the textile industry and create more decent jobs for teeming unemployed youths of the country,” he said.
National Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero lamented that if the fund injected in the privatized power sector was invested in the textile sector, it would have affected positively the economy of the country.
He said even though the government had said that it had no business in business, within seven years, it had given N3 trillion to the sector and also released money to the aviation sector.
Also speaking, the Director of Industrial Development in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adewale Bakare noted that in some countries like India, the role of government in promoting the textile soctor was minimal.
Bakare, who was represented by the Chief Industrial Officer in the Ministry, Mukhtar Abdullahi, said it was the private sector that drives the industries.
He said that there is the need to change strategy for the association to move forward, recommending that a committee made up of the government and the association should be set up in order to move the sector forward.