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Nigeria needs to revive its textile prowess to gain global traction

"A recent seminar by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ibadan highlighted the rich textile heritage that Nigeria possesses. While the industry has defied all policy measures, sustenance would depend on path breaking initiatives, creativity and strong political will. The seminar, ‘Competitiveness of the Nigerian Textile Industry’, stated factors such as smuggling, high costs, lack of power, shortage of locally-sourced raw materials, prohibitive borrowing rates, inconsistent policies and low patronage were hampering industry growth."

 

 

Textiles Nigeria

 

A recent seminar by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ibadan highlighted the rich textile heritage that Nigeria possesses. While the industry has defied all policy measures, sustenance would depend on path breaking initiatives, creativity and strong political will. The seminar, ‘Competitiveness of the Nigerian Textile Industry’, stated factors such as smuggling, high costs, lack of power, shortage of locally-sourced raw materials, prohibitive borrowing rates, inconsistent policies and low patronage were hampering industry growth. Bashir Adelowo, Senior Researcher with NISER, said WTO’s trade liberalisation policies, to which Nigeria signed on in 1997, had failed to revamp the industry, instead, favouring rich and major exporting countries like China and India, which have since taken control of the market.

The resurgence

Nigeria needs to revive its textile prowess to gain

 

With its estimated population of 186 million, advantage in cotton farming, the sub-Saharan African market and the popularity of its African prints – Ankara and Adire – reviving the textile industry is key to the resurgence of Nigeria’s manufacturing sector and the economy. The federal and state governments need to adopt workable, consistent policies and muster the political will to realise the dream. As per World Bank, low income economies like Nigeria should leverage their cheap labour to develop textile industries.

The National Bureau of Statistics revealed in the three months to September 2016, Nigeria spent N24.7 billion importing textiles. According to the Nigerian Textiles Manufacturing Association (NTMA) annually N1.29 trillion is spent on such imports. The government should put a stop on smuggling that accounts for 80 per cent of our local market in defiance of a ban and import restrictions re-imposed since 2005. There should be a thorough reform and massive shake-out at the Nigerian Customs Service to get rid of corruption. The government should rally all stakeholders to revive and prosecute the National Cotton Textile and Garment Enterprise Policy under the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan launched in 2015, but has been damaged by the lack of interest by the states.

Measures in the right direction

Nigeria should make massive job creation and development of agriculture, mining, manufacturing and non-oil exports the pre-eminent objective of all policies. There should be measures to protect agriculture and local industries as around 26 of its 36 states are suitable for cotton growing. They have to renegotiate with the WTO or pull out of the 164-nation global organisation. Both the World Bank and the IMF have criticised it for favouring rich nations at the expense of developing countries. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, market distortions caused by its free trade policies cost developing countries $700 billion in lost exports annually, while the World Bank added that its textile quotas of 1994-2005 augmented advanced economies, but had cost developing nations 27 million jobs and $40 billion in lost exports each year. Nigeria’s market is said to sustain 2.5 million jobs and more in China, India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Europe.

Through domestic and foreign content textile export, the industry must increase participation in global value chain. It has been shown that trade-induced accumulation of productive knowledge creates increasing productivity in the economy.

 
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