By Harrison Edeh, Abuja
ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Rasheed Olaoluwa, the Managing Director of Bank of Industry, has said for the nation’s textile producers to remain competitive, they must leverage on the emerging technology in the sector.
Olaoluwa, who spoke during the Annual National Education Conference in Kaduna, noted that the adoption of new technology would not only help textile producers in cutting cost of production, it would also make their products competitive in the global market.
The forum, which has as its theme: “Buhari Administration: Revival of Textile Industry and Creation of Decent Jobs”, was organised by the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria(NUTGTWN) and Nigeria Textile, Garment and Tailoring Employers’ Association.
The conference brought together various stakeholders to deliberate on the state of the textile sector with a view to addressing some of the constraints that have held it down from realizing its potential in employment generation and capital flow.
A statistics released at the event showed that while over 121,100 jobs have been lost as a result of inactivity in the sector, only 39 out of the 143 textiles mills across the country, are still in operation.
However, beyond the issue of finance and smuggling, the BoI boss stated that it was imperative for the operators in the sector to be innovative, adding that textile business had gone digital.
He stated,”The textile union education conference is very timely in the sense that, as you are aware, the President, Mohammadu Buhari has been quite emphatic on the need for Nigeria to revive the textile sector.
“Some of the issues that have come out today have to do with how to deal with the issue of smuggling. It is an issue government needs to deal with firmly, especially with the Nigeria Customs Service. What also came out clear is the need for the textile industry to also be up and doing in term of embracing new technology.
“Textile industry globally has gone digital and for us to be competitive, we need to invest in new technology and ensure that textile industry is able to do cost effective short-run. New technology we enable textile producers to come up with product sample very quickly, come out with new designs just by operating the computer.
“There is a lot of computer aided designs that have gone into textile printing today. That is the challenge to the industry. There is no doubt that the industry will be fixed by this government.
Also speaking, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, expressed the commitment of the present administration to revive the textile industry.
According to him, in demonstration of this committee, the President has constituted a committee to look at all the issues in the sector.
He also noted,”The revival of textile industry is to us a matter of life or death. Certainly we will not choose death and that is why immediately I got elected, the first places I visited were textile mills. So I want to assure Mr. president and members of this Union, that we will not leave any stone unturned until we bring back the glory of Nigeria textile industry.
“We will deal with any hindrances on our way; if it is customs, we will deal with them decisively. The textile is the only subsector that is mentioned specifically in APC manifesto as one of the priority areas that must be revived. The first committee he set up is the committee on the revival of the Cotton, Textile and Garment value chain. That committee is working.
He also assured textile producers in the state his administration would dedicate the 25megawatt of electricity coming from the Gurara dam to industrial clusters in the state.
Apart from that, the governor also disclosed that his government was working with the federal government for a speedy completion 225 Jeda Independent Power Plant (IPP) project, adding that it would also be specifically dedicated to industrial clusters in Kaduna and Zaria.