By Ericjames Ochigbo
The House of Representatives on Tuesday in Abuja, called on the Federal Government to revitalise the textile industry to support speedy revival of the country’s economy.
This followed the adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Akinyede Awodumila (PDP – Ekiti).
Moving the motion earlier, Awodumila recalled that Nigeria’s textile industry was once a booming sector of the economy and was one of Africa’s largest industrial sectors.
He said that the sector was capable of producing an estimated 1.4 billion assorted textile items ranging from bed sheets, African prints to shirting materials, among others.
He said that the industry used to spread across the federation from Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Funtua, Asaba, Port-Harcourt and other areas.
According to the lawmaker, in the 1980s, the textile industry was the second largest employer of labour after the Federal Government, a period that is wistfully regarded as the golden era of the industry.
He, however, said that the industry had been bedevilled by problems which included dependence on imported raw materials, sourcing of foreign exchange and inadequate power supply.
He said the industry was plagued by government policy summersaults, poor infrastructure and high cost of production, which had led to its inability to compete favourably with imported clothing items.
Awodumila pointed out that the poor state of the industry forced many textile factories to close down, while some relocated to other West African countries like Ghana and Sierra Leone.
He said the relocation and closure of some of the factories had caused revenue and job losses.
He explained that revitalising the industry would have a ripple effect on other sectors, including agriculture.
According to him, cotton farmers will be engaged, skills and expertise will be developed, and more youths will be trained in handling, repairing and fabricating machinery required in the industry.
In his contribution, Rep. Sunday Karim (Kogi PDP) said that the textile industry used to be the hub of the country’s economy as it employed many Nigerians.
He advised that while efforts should be made to revitalise the industry, companies operating in the sector that took loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be investigated.
Karim said the companies should be made to account for the funds they took and how they had used it to develop the industry.
In his ruling, Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dugara, mandated the Committee on Industry and Local Content to liaise with stakeholders to fashion out measures to revive the industry.
He said the committee should report back to the house within eight weeks. (NAN)