Nigeria: Federal Govt Will Address Challenges Facing Cotton Industry - Minister

(file photo).

Minister of industry, trade and investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo has expressed the determination of the federal government to address the challenges facing the cotton industry with a view to creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.

Addressing a delegation of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) who paid him a visit in his office, the minister noted the cotton industry has the "capacity to transform Nigeria's rural economy and revive the textile and garment industries by creating over 2 million jobs, improve internal revenue across three tiers of government, reduce $4.0 billion import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel, earn foreign exchange and make Nigeria a global player in textile and apparel."

According to him, "In the 1970s and early 1980s, Nigeria was home to Africa's largest textile industry, with over 180 textile mills which employed close to over 450,000 people and contributed over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector. Today, most of those factories have all stopped operations, textile factories are operating at below 20 per cent capacity with a workforce of less than 20,000 people.

"I am happy to announce to you that Mr. President is determined to change the narrative and rewrite the history of Nigeria's struggling Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) sector. In 2019, the government flagged off the Wet Season Cotton Input Distribution to 150,000 farmers in Katsina under the Anchor Borrowers Programme. They are cultivating over 180,000 hectares of cotton that will feed our ginneries. Production is also ongoing across many states with more to come onboard in the next planting seasons."

President of NACOTAN, Mr Anibe Achimugu had earlier called on the federal government to revamp the cotton industry to provide jobs for teeming unemployed Nigerian youths.

He stressed that if the sector is revived it would not only help to take youths off the streets but also help to address youth restiveness, banditry, drug abuse and emigration issues.

He noted that the industry is the second largest employer of labour in the country and deserved the much needed attention of the federal government to enable the industry to contribute its quota to the economic development of the country.

Achimugu told the minister that prevailing global economic development called for a wider and more sustained approach to dealing with the challenges in the industry.

He called on the minister to prevail on the Bank of Industry/Leasing Company of Nigeria for special intervention for the cotton industry.

He also sought the support of the minister for the payment of Nigeria's assessment to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) for the periods of 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, which he put at $58,500.

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