Nigeria's food and infrastructure conglomerate, BUA Group, has engaged a Swiss firm, Gherzi Textile Organisation to undertake studies, design master plan and engineering for the development of an integrated Textile and Garment Cluster in Katsina State.
This comes on the heels of the recent decision by the group to establish West Africa's largest private-led textile cluster in Katsina.
The BUA Group recently entered into collaboration with the Katsina State government to set-up a textile and garment cluster, which would generate over 25,000 jobs and revive the textile industry in the country.
Group Executive Director, BUA, Kabiru Rabiu, said Gherzi was contracted for the assignment because of its proven track record and global expertise in textile mills and apparel parks.
He noted that the company has successfully undertaken and executed several textile and apparel parks in over 70 countries for public, private and international institutions across the globe.
"As part of our plans to contribute to the revival of the textile industry, we partnered with Ghezi, which was established in 1929 because they are arguably the most experienced textile consulting company in the world today.
"Moreover, they have deep knowledge about the Nigerian textile industry as they were at one time contracted by the Federal Government of to advise on the industry," Rabiu said.
The company specialises in textiles, garments and the textile supply chain, particularly in IT, architecture, construction, mechanical/electrical engineering and project management.
Expectedly, they met the professional standard of the Swiss Association of Management Consultants (ASCO) and the Swiss Association of Engineers and Architects (SIA).
Speaking on the KTGC development, Rabiu said: "This particular investment is part of the group's efforts to help to generate over 25,000 jobs and make the moribund textile industry viable again in Nigeria.
"It is our belief that for Nigeria to really diversify its economy, large corporates like BUA have to come up with initiatives and investments in sectors that would have a maximum impact on the economy, while governments should provide the necessary support to make them work, hence our decision to develop the KTGC."
He added that Nigeria used to have the largest textile industry in sub-Sahara Africa in the 1960s and 1980s when the industry played a dominant role in boosting the economy, contributing significantly to country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but that the sector that used to be the largest employer of labour after the Federal Government, now contributes less than two per cent to the economy..
"As a result of the oil boom and an oversight of the agricultural sector in the past, the textile industry was adversely affected. Nigeria imports some $4 billion worth of textiles from overseas, majority of which is smuggled to major textile markets in the country".
This situation not only undermines the local industry, but deprives people of jobs, denies government of revenue and drains the country's foreign reserves, which is detrimental to the growth of the economy," Rabiu said.
He lauded Governor Aminu Bello Masari and the Federal Government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for their role, support and commitment toward making the project a reality.