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$4.2bn of textiles annually smuggled into Nigeria, yearly – FG

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MINISTER of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, recently estimated the cumulative value of annually imported and smuggled textiles and garments into the country at $4.2 billion.

Abubakar disclosed this at the High Level Stakeholders Retreat on Cotton, Textiles and Garments (CTG)’s policy in Abuja, grieving that government was annually losing $329 million worth of revenue to importation and smuggling of textiles and garments.

Subsequently, she expressed government’s commitment and determination to revive the textile industry.

The minister explained that cotton, textiles and garments sector was one of the key sectors priortised in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and Economic Industrial Revolution Programme of the government because of its importance to employment generation and wealth creation.

According to her, the sector policy review is in tandem with Nigeria’s industrialisation and diversification initiatives of the government to invest in agriculture and manufacturing sector which are expected to be the major contributors to the economic growth and development.

Abubakar stated that the stakeholders should be instrumental to the implementation of the CTG sector toward enhancing productivity through access to credits and inputs as well as capacity building for the entire industry.

“Our vision for this industry is to create direct employment for about one million people by year 2023.

“We also want to achieve self-sufficiency and contribute 20 per cent share in Nigeria’s total export earnings with textile and garment exports targeted to reach two billion dollars by year 2025.

“It is our plan to achieve 15 per cent of national industrial production and 18 per cent market share in the global textiles and garments market and hope to contribute 5.5 per cent to the country’s GDP by year 2023,” he said.

The minister said that it was part of the plans to develop a modern integrated textile and garments industry focusing on local demand and export for the upper segment of the world market thereby making Nigeria one of the leading players in global textile and garment industry.

In his remarks, Edet Akpan, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said CTG policy framework had over time required an evaluation in response to unresolved challenges facing the stakeholders.

Akpan explained that the challenges were high cost of production, smuggling and counterfeiting of textiles and garment products; very low demand for cotton domestic textile mills, tax concessions and waivers.

He identified other problems as poor patronage of local textile and apparels; lack of power supply and insufficient production of cotton seed; and tasked stakeholders at the retreat not only to provide expertise, but to also recommend sustainable approach toward addressing the challenges.

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