By Mustapha Sumaila
Abuja – The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele says smuggling must be dealt with to effectively and successfully revive Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) sub-sector.
Emefiele said this at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some critical stakeholders in the CTG sub-sector in Abuja on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the MoU was signed between CBN and Nigeria Cotton Association of Nigeria, Ginners Association of Nigeria as well as Nigerian Textile and Garment Manufacturers Association.
Others that signed the MoU with CBN include representatives of the Armed forces, Nigerian Police force, Paramilitary institutions, NYSC and some uniform organisations.
Emefiele said that when he met with key stakeholders of the CTG sub-sector, smuggling was identified as one of the main challenges killing the textile and garment industries.
He stated that there was no way that jobs could be created with smuggling and dumping thriving in the country.
He said he had since directed that accounts of identified smugglers be frozen in all banks.
The governor also commended the Federal Government on the closure of borders adding that the benefits were unprecedented.
“Smuggling of textiles goods alone is estimated to have cost the nation an import bill of over 4.0billion dollars annually on textiles and apparel.
“Today’s MOU signing sets a significant milestone for enforcement of Mr President’s Executive Order 003 as well as foster closer business collaboration among these stakeholders on a sustainable basis.
“This ceremony also represents a landmark event being part of the measures the CBN along with other stakeholders embarked upon in order to revive CTG sector through ensuring local sourcing of all uniformed services and hospital theatre wears.
“Before the advent of the current administration, the CTG sector has been facing very difficult challenges resulting not only in the closure of over 150 textiles firms in Nigeria but also loss of over two million jobs in 1990s beginning from the cotton farmers to the ginneries and textile firms .
“Farmers and processors had to deal with low quality seeds, rising operating cost and weak sales due to high energy cost of running factories, smuggling of textile goods, and poor access to finance,” he said.
According to Emefiele, this led to a situation where most of the textile factories all stopped operations.
He said that the workforce in Nigeria’s textile industry was now at less than 20,000 people from about two million in the boom years.
The CBN governor said that a large proportion of the clothing materials were imported from Asia and European countries.
“Today we are here to witness a paradigm shift not only through well crafted speeches but through dedicated and carefully planned actions that are holistic and will encompass every node of the CTG value chain.”
Emefiele lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his effort in supporting the continued growth and development of Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector and the wider economy in general through his purposeful, visionary and people oriented leadership. (NAN)