Targets Zero Cotton, Garment Import By 2020
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Thursday, set a 2020 target as part of its commitment to ensuring the country becomes self-sufficient cotton production and zero importation of textile and garment products.
Speaking at a meeting with service chiefs and chief executives of the nation’s uniformed services towards reviving the textile industry, Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the CBN, said President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated that all uniformed services and theatre wears in hospitals and medical facilities be sourced locally.
This, he continued, is through enforcement of Executive Order 003 in support of local content in procurement by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, following which “the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has been notified to enforce compliance among MDAs.”
To achieve the presidential directive, he said, the apex bank will “facilitate long term contracts (of five years or more) with our textile and garment factories to produce uniforms for our armed forces and uniform services using local fabrics and textile materials.”
He said the CBN is not unaware of the fact that the nature of uniformed jobs will warrant special quality and security around the production of such wares, he promised that his team will work with nominees of the service chiefs to ensure requisite quality and security associated with such uniforms.
The nominees will the join the CBN team to inspect the various textiles and garment factories to ensure their readiness to be engaged on long term contracts to forestall breaches, just as payment terms will be worked out to fit budget releases for uniforms for various organisations.
For him, actualization of the order with the help and cooperation of the service chiefs, “will impact positively on the garment industry and the Nigerian economy at large,” he said, especially like the cotton, textile, and garment sector has capacity to transform Nigeria’s rural economy.
Among the huge potentials the sector holds, he continued, is its capacity to create “over two million jobs, improve internal revenue across three tiers of government, reduce
$4.0bn import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel, safeguard and earn foreign exchange and ultimately accelerate industrial development by making Nigeria a global player in the textile and apparel sectors.”
Previous meetings with sector stakeholders, he said, “analysed the huge potentials that exist in the sector, identified the challenges militating against the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s growth and development and presented quick wins for reviving the sector.”
The sector, he continued, is however faced with some systemic challenges which has hampered and diminished its role as the leading employer of labour thereby preventing its contribution to Nigeria’s GDP.
He recalled that in the 1970s and early 1980s, Nigeria hosted Africa’s largest textile industry, with over 180 operational textile mills employing close to over 450,000 people and contributing over 25% of the workforce in the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, he lamented, most of those factories are no longer in operation and have become warehouses and church, leaving only 25 textile factories still operating today at below 20% of their production capacities, just as the workforce in industry’s workforce is less than 20,000 people.
He challenged the gathering to change the narrative, fired by the patriotic zeal and rewrite the history of Nigeria’s struggling CTG Sector by supporting local textile manufacturers as entrenched in the Executive Order of which President Muhammadu Buhari has directed full compliance.
Among others, he stressed that compliance will help address the pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves by reducing demands for forex to import textile and clothing materials.
So far, he stressed, “Interactions with stakeholders revealed that MDAs have not made any significant order for uniforms or clothing materials from our Nigerian textile manufacturers and garment companies and the governments’ efforts at resuscitating the textile industry will not be actualized if they are not supported through local patronage among other incentives.”
Already, he assured that the CBN has flagged-off the 2019 Wet Season Cotton Input Distribution to 150,000 farmers cultivating over 180,000 hectares of cotton in Katsina State on May 6, 2019, under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. This, he continued, will feed ginneries and be used in the production of high-quality textile for use by the armed forces and other uniformed service organizations.
“Production is also ongoing across 23 States of Nigeria with more to come on board in the next planting season. We have also put in place necessary mechanisms to ensure the use of high yielding varieties that will produce top quality fabrics and those that can compete in the international market,” Emefiele stressed further.
He also observed that the nation’s textile factories are carrying huge quantities of unsold stock, while garment factories are idle due to lack of local patronage, expressing optimism that support from the armed forces and uniformed security agencies can help reverse the trend.
While seeking their cooperation, the CBN governor said the nation can no longer continue to dwell in past neglects, but correct them, with every stakeholder contributing his/her “quota to guarantee the realization of these national targets. Our future is bright as a country but we must continue to take those little steps that will take us to our destination.”