The Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom has said the government is aspiring to increase the share of domestic market for the textile sub-sector to 25 percent by 2020 from its present position of 12 percent.
Speaking in Abuja at the stakeholders retreat on the textile sub-sector of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, the minister said that Nigeria once had a very vibrant textile and garment sub-sector with fixed investment of $4 billion second only to South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa and third in Africa.
"It also had 63 percent capacity of textile manufacturing in West Africa and controlled 60 percent of textile market in Nigeria. Within the same period, the sub-sector had 175 fully functional textile mills that employed over 800,000 people.
"Today, the reality has changed and the picture is no longer the same. Employment is at an all-time low level with 24,000 employees working in 25 functional mills that are characterized by low capacity utilization as at 2008.This is further compound by low export and high influx of cheap textile products," he said.
He explained that the scenario does not represent the global recognition of the textile sub-sector as a significant catalyst for economic growth and its coordinated development as a low hanging fruit for creating jobs, generating wealth and enhancing overall economic development.
In order to turn around the fortune of the sector and achieve the 25 percent market target, the minister said that "the strategy thrust requires that we revive the entire value chain including strengthening the base by boosting cotton production for domestic utilization and potential exports, supporting existing players to expand their current operations and attracting strong brands to set up local manufacturing operation in the country.