NEPC seeks improved market access for made-in-Nigeria textiles
Worried by the low penetration of the nation’s textiles and apparels at the international market, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has improved capacity of players in the sector on measures to improve access of such goods to the global market.
The Executive Director, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, while citing the latest outcome of the Africa brand survey, stated that Nigeria’s textiles and apparels account for 27 per cent of Africa’s textiles market.
The Executive Director who was represented by the agency’s Assistant Director, Faleke Olusegun at a one- day capacity building workshop for stakeholders in the textile and apparel sector on the opportunities in the rising global market, said the low penetration is due to the lack of patronage of made-in-Nigeria by Nigerians, maintaining that Nigerians must showcase Nigerian brands everywhere they find themselves in the world. “There is low patronage because we are not proud of our brand. We must patronise our brand by showcasing it wherever we go.
This is the only way we can provide the needed support to boost the nation’s textile and apparel sector,” he said. He however called on the government to make access to fund for businesses more attractive, saying that double digit interest rate is still a major challenge hindering investments in the country. “Access to fund is an issue in the sector.
When we have about 25 per cent interest rate, this is totally unattractive for business growth. There must be a special vehicle to provide single digit loan. If the loan is cheap, we can compete anywhere in the world. “Nigeria has a lot of brands that can be promoted. By and large, most people prefer to patronise foreign brands leaving out our own brands.
This capacity building initiative will afford us the opportunity to share views with stakeholders in the sector in order to bridge the gap because we believe the stakeholders own the business, creativity and the vision and we need to go along with them to drive the sector forward,” he said.
He said Nigeria has the potential to make its own fashion capital market both creative and commercial, stressing that the creative aspect is present but no enough platforms for the sales functions. “Nigeria’s fashion industry should be a determining factor in the economy and for this to happen, we must make it work,” he added.
Meanwhile, the President, Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), Mrs. Funmi Ajila Ladipo said the deplorable infrastructural facilities in the country are responsible for Nigeria being placed below South Africa in the survey, adding that the nation’s textile industries are packed up, with no production hubs available in the country. “When you have three machines in the house, it makes you a sewing mistress. We do not all need to have machines but if we have a production hub in all the states when things can be mass produced, only then can we encourage fashion designers,” she said.
According to her, the association is trying to grow the industry by teaching talented fashion designers on how to do things right, but stressed that this move will only see the light of day if there are infrastructures in place.
She said going forward, Nigeria must learn from developed economies that use their fashion industry as a means of earning foreign exchange. “We have to learn from them about the way they operate, their latest machineries to make us viable in order to export.
For instance, if I take a sample to the United States and they love the sample, it will be difficult to produce more in Nigeria because there are no production hubs to meet basic requirements of the demand,” she stressed. She said until Nigeria can have production hubs, only then will the nation be able to sell its fashion industry to the world.