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Stakeholders crusade to revive dormant textile sector
Aug '08
Stakeholders of the textile industry gave expression to their disappointment over the stagnancy of the sector. They held a conference last week which aimed at finding a way to resurrect the industry and bring it back to life.

The seminar was organized by Nouvelle Communications Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA). Mr Alhaji Ahmed Bichi, Minister of state for Commerce and Industry, who was also present at the meeting, took the opportunity to address the stakeholders on behalf of the Federal Government. He highly appreciated the initiative taken by the organizers to revive the dying textile industry which once claimed to being one of the highest employers of labor in the manufacturing sector.

The minister further threw light on the fact that the sector which had a total of 175 textile mills in the country in 1985 saw the numbers fall to 32 in 2006. As a result, the employment number also saw a dramatic drop from 137,000 jobs in 1996 to 30,000 in 2006.

While speaking at the seminar, Mr Bichi acknowledged that some of the major problems facing the enterprises in the country include inadequate infrastructure, energy crisis, smuggling, high interest rates, outdated machineries.

He also citied lack of cooperation among the various trade bodies connected with the sector with regard to making requests for waivers and concessions on imports of certain goods. He also urged the bodies to come under one umbrella body in order to streamline their demands and present it to the Government through a proper channel.

It was also advised that if an organization is formed it can collaborate with the Government through a public-private partnership (PPP) for an effective implementation of developmental policies. He affirmed to the attendees that the authorities were contemplating measures that are in the best interests of the textile industry which is why it has granted a textile development fund of N70 billion.

The fund will be used for refinancing, upgrading and modernization of the textile and cotton sectors. Entrepreneurs wanting to access the fund will have to address their applications to NEXIM bank.

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