Stop importation of fabrics, revamp local textile factories – Fashion designer tells FG

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Mrs Evelyn Mitaire, a Nigerian Fashion Designer, has called on the Federal Government to work on revamping indigenous textile mills and the importation of foreign-made fabrics.
Mitaire made the call at the closing ceremony of the International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC), while speaking on the topic: “Beyond the Oil Economy: Creative Industry Diversification Option for Nigeria”, in Abuja.
The theme of the expo was “Networking Nigerian Craft to the World”.
She said that the Nigerian creative industry remains the major diversification option for the nation as the potential in the industry could improve the nation’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), if properly groomed.
According to her, the fashion sector of the creative industry has not improved due to the mass importation of fabrics countries like Poland, England and China.
She advised government to take drastic steps in placing strict restrictions on importation of fabrics and commence operations at the moribund textile mills in the country.
She said the country had all the raw materials to use for mass production of these fabrics.
“The Nigerian government needs to consider the fashion sector of the creative industry as a diversification option to oil, to explore the full potentials of the fashion sector.
“Our textile mills should be revamped while we promote exportation of such fabrics to improve on our economy.
” We are used to the importation of Ankara, Guinea and other types of fabrics which we convert to local fabric by mere process of tie and dye as well as batik.
“Those kinds of fabrics are not truly made in Nigeria products, we can only refer to them as made in Nigeria products when they are actually produced in Nigeria.
“When the importation of foreign-made fabrics are restricted, Nigerians will be forced to be creative in our production of local fabrics and create interest in it,” she said.
Mitaire cautioned Nigerians against their preference for foreign products as against Nigerian ones.
She urged FG to create skill acquisition centres in each of the 774 local government areas in the country to help the fashion industry to grow.
She said this was quite important to ensure the nation gets enough experts in the fashion sector to reposition the Industry.
“Power outage and financial challenge remain our major problems in the fashion industry, so, government needs to create platforms through which practitioners in the industry can access loans with friendly interest rates.
Also, Nigerian seasoned Journalist, Reuben Abati, urged the Federal Government to deliberately explore the creative industry as a diversification option to oil, for wealth creation.
He said the nation’ culture should be explored as a vehicle for foreign relations.
According to Abati, the Nigerian government needs to put certain measures in place to facilitate easy economic diversification to the creative industry.
He said the nation must work on putting Nigeria on the creative global space by improving on the educational sector to produce more creative writers like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
“Government needs to finance Nollywood which is the third most attractive industry in the world, after Hollywood and Bollywood,”, saying that Nigeria must work on the enforcement of copyright laws and improve on security to encourage inflow of tourists.
“Nigeria is as endowed as Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates but the ability to think ahead and move beyond oil is highly important.
“Nigeria has put structures in place to make the nation work but must ensure that those structures are workable,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 12 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), participated in the just-ended 14th INAC which commenced on Oct. 13.
The states are Yobe, Nasarawa, Bayelsa, Lagos, Jigawa, Ogun, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Ondo, Zamfara, Katsina and the FCT.