With an aim to improve Nigeria's skill deficiency, especially in the fashion designing sector and to aid its participation in the extended African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Olusegun Awolowo, the executive director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) said that the agency will continue its effort to ensure that nation's skill is enhanced.
Awolowo was in Lagos to attend the graduation ceremony at the agency that has trained 75 candidates in fashion designing. AGOA is a legislation signed by US Congress in May 2000, designed to assist economies of sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations between the United States and the region.
Concerned over the impact of inadequate skills development on the country's economic growth, Awolowo said that the treaty which has been extended till 2025 will assist in fixing the country's skills deficiency.
"We need to bridge skills deficit in Nigeria. Everywhere you go there are jobs but there are no skills to meet up with it. This also is the situation in the fashion industry. Our main goal is to promote fashion design. But the most important thing first is to scale up production by increasing capacity and that is where we are right now," said Awolowo, adding that 25 of the trained candidates were given automatic employment through a Public-Private Partnership programme.
Stressing on the need for production hubs that will help the country to meet the demand and compete with other countries, he said, "Currently there are not enough hubs where shirts of high quality and quantity can be made. Until we start building production hubs where we can manufacture these things in big quantity and quality, we may not be able to compete internationally."
Fashion industry lacks capacity to meet the increasing demand and efforts should be put to make fashion sector lead government's non oil revenue initiative, said Omoyemi Akerele, founder and artistic director of Style House. Akerele has also sought the help of Nigerians in building the sector and find a way to retain the country's huge import of fashion products.
Awolowo further said that the council is also working towards revamping the cotton industry to complement other sectors. (RR)
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