11 February 2013

Nigeria: 38 Nigerian Textile Firms Benefit From N100 Billion Intervention Fund

Some moribund textile firms have been re-awakened.

A workers union leader, and a Nigerian minister, said on Monday that 38 textile firms have so far benefitted from the Nigerian Government's N100 billion Cotton Textile and Garment Revival Scheme.

The Vice-President of the Nigeria Labour Congress and General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Issa Aremu, said on Monday that 38 textile firms have so far benefitted from Nigerian government's N100 billion Cotton Textile and Garment Revival Scheme.

The fund, which is under the management of the Bank of Industry, BOI, has saved about 8,070 jobs since the disbursement commenced, according to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga.

Mr. Aganga said that in 2010, BOI was mandated to initiate steps to reverse the progressive industry collapse and ensure a rapid resuscitation and upgrading of the entire Cotton Textile Garment, CTG, value-chain.

The minister, who was speaking at the Stakeholders Retreat on the Cotton, Textile and Garment Sub-Sector of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan, NIPR, in Abuja, said that the retreat was necessary because of the importance of a revitalised CTG sub-sector in the efforts toward achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development.

The NIRP, he said, is strategic, holistic and integrated in the sense that government is focusing on areas where the country has competitive and comparative advantage.

"It is integrated because we are looking at the whole value chain, right from raw materials to the market. We are already making progress with the reforms that are in place," Mr. Aganga said. "Figures by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, reveal that the capacity utilisation in this sector has increased significantly from 29.14 per cent in 2010 to 49.70 per cent as at 2011."

With the N100 billion loan CGT fund, the minister said a number of hitherto moribund textile mills have been reopened with about 8,070 jobs saved, while over 5,000 new jobs have been created.

He said the country could not continue to be a raw material exporting nation that implies Nigeria exporting jobs, wealth and development. He added that this was one area that the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan was trying to address.

He said the retreat was the beginning of an important journey as government was set to make the sector the best in Africa, adding that it had become imperative to come up with actionable points to kick-start the needed revolution.

Mr. Aganga said the textile industry was one of those areas government was looking at and would want to remove the barriers to increase productivity in the sector.

Pointing out that one of the barriers was access to affordable finance, he noted that CGT, which the BOI manages at a low interest rate, had achieved some remarkable successes, adding that he was optimistic that before the end of 2013, the whole N100 billion would have been disbursed.

Mr. Aremu said that there was a need for the Federal Government to increase the CTG fund and make it easier for textile firms to access it at zero interest rate.

"We are happy with the provision of the N100 billion CTG Intervention Fund by the Federal Government. So far, 38 companies have benefitted from the fund and this has gone a long way in revitalising some of the textile firms that had closed down," he said. (NAN)

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