By Etuka Sunday
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has earmarked the sum of N100billion as intervention fund to revive the Nigeria’s Cotton, Textiles and Garments Sector.
CBN’s governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele who disclosed this yesterday at a Signing of the Memoranda of Understanding between stakeholders in the cotton/garments industry, said, N50billion had already been disbursed.
The agreement signing was facilitated by CBN in furtherance of its efforts to resuscitate the cotton/garment value chain in Nigeria.
The first agreement, was between NACOTAN and Ginning Companies, to guarantee steady off-take and processing of cotton lint and cotton seeds while the second MOU was between the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association and the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Nigeria Police, Paramilitary Institutions & National Youth Service Corps to facilitate long-term contracts (5 years or more) with Textile and Garment companies to manufacture uniforms in Nigeria for use by various arms of Nigeria’s uniform services.
Emefiele who described the occasion as historic and of national significance, said, the MOU signing has set a significant milestone for enforcement of Mr President’s Executive Order 003 as well as foster closer business collaboration among these stakeholders on a sustainable basis.
Recall, President Muhammadu Buhari using Executive Order 003 directed all MDAs to comply with by granting preference to local content in their procurement of goods and services.
Emefiele said, before the advent of the current administration, the Nigerian cotton, textiles and garment sector has been facing very difficult challenges resulting not only in the closure of over 150 textiles firms in Nigeria but also loss of over 2 million jobs on 1990s beginning from the cotton farmers , to the ginneries and textile firms .
He said, “farmers and processors had to deal with low quality seeds, rising operating cost and weak sales due to high energy cost of running factories, smuggling of textile goods, and poor access to finance. Smuggling of textiles goods alone is estimated to have cost the nation an import bill of over $4.0billion annually on textiles and apparel.
“This led to a situation where most of the textile factories, all stopped operations and the workforce in Nigeria’s textile industry stands at less than 20,000 people today from about 2 million in the boom years.
“In addition, a large proportion of our clothing materials are imported from Asia and countries in Europe. Today we are here to witness a paradigm shift not only through well crafted speeches but through dedicated and carefully planned actions that are holistic and will encompass every node of the CTG value chain,” he said.
The governor said, the ceremony was a result of almost two years of painstaking activities and consultations with key stakeholders in the CTG value chain.
He said, “back in May 2019, we took the first step in this journey in Katsina State with the flag-off of input distribution to 150,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 150,000 hectares in 23 States of the Federation.
‘Currently the cotton planted by these hardworking farmers has begun fruiting and will soon be ready for off-taking from the Month of November.
“Furthermore, we are improving the linkage between cotton farmers and ginneries, by ensuring that ginneries are able to off-take the high-quality cotton produced by these farmers.
“In this regard, approval to a tune of N19.18billion has been granted to finance nine (9) ginneries with a view to retooling their processing plants, while providing them with improved access to finance at single digit interest rate.
“This is to help sustain their operations and improve their production capacity. The same support will be extended to the textile and garment firms.
“We have invested heavily in our local textile and garment factories to retool and produce assorted uniforms for our uniformed services that meet international standards,” he said.
The CBN boss said, Textile Revival Implementation Committee has been set up to achieve self-sufficiency in cotton production and textile materials within a span of 3 years.
“We have also constituted a Textile Revival Implementation Committee (TRIC) which includes the CBN, Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Water Resources; Industry, Trade and Investment; and the Governments of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe and Zamfara States.
“This Committee is driving the initiative to achieve self-sufficiency in cotton production and textile materials within a span of 3 years.
“In this regard, we have held consultative meetings with State Governments on ways to reduce the operational cost of running textile factories within their respective States.
“State Governments have indicated their interest in providing captive power plants in industrial areas where textile manufacturers operate, in order to enhance their productivity and reduce the operational cost of running their factories.
“We believe that through these initiatives, all the businesses along the cotton- textile value chain can come alive again thereby helping to improve the economy of our states,” he said.