Govt targets 100,000 direct jobs textile sector’s revival policy
THE Federal Government has targeted over 100,000 direct jobs under its new textile sector’s revival policy.
The newly launched national cotton, textile and garment policy is expected to outline the roadmap for the revival of the comatose textile industry.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga stated this during the launching of the policy in Abuja on Tuesday.
Already, the government has also sealed a pact with an international garment manufacturer, Vlisco group, to railroad the policy.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister said the pact is expected to generate 100,000 direct jobs between now and 2017, while another 1.3million indirect jobs are also expected during the period.
He explained that about $59 investment flow is expected to be committed into the Nigerian industrial master plan with another $14 billion going into petroleum products, chemicals and fertilizer sub-sectors.
Aganga argued that the steps are already been taken to diversify Nigeria’s economy as shown in the identification of 13 items government is targeting to diversify the national economy base.
He added: “If we must realize our industrial dreams, we cannot continue to be a country that will be importing petroleum products but a net exporter of refined petroleum products. As at today, Nigeria already has a solution to the plummeting oil prices in the international market. All that is required is accelerating implementation process.
“By doing this, we will be able to diversify the economy of this nation. All military and para-military agencies and government schools are now to purchase Nigerian-made textiles and garments. In addition, we will work with the private sector, schools in particular are to be encouraged to source their materials locally.”
With an estimated, 170 million people, the Minister submitted that Nigeria is in line to becoming the third largest nation in the world by 2070 after India and China, which is a massive asset for textile industry and other related goods to thrive.
He also lamented the inability of Nigeria and other African countries to make maximum use of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows unfettered access to the United States economy.
His words: “Most countries in Africa have the opportunity to export goods to the United States of America under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Sadly, most African countries have not been able to take advantage of this opportunity available to the exportation of non-oil sector. Only Mauritius, Lesotho, Kenya and South Africa have taken the advantage of this opportunity. Nigeria has not taken the opportunity to do this quota and duty free to export goods to the United States.”
He listed the advantages of the policy to include a rise from the current level of 24, 000 jobs in the sector to 200,000 direct employment by 2017.
“Also, indirect employment is expected to increase from 650,000, which we have today to 1.3milion jobs by 2017. It is also expected that cotton farmers, factory workers, tailors, fashion designers, garment manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, logistic providers will all benefit from this policy. I am aware that some investors are presently exploring setting up of a tailoring academy in Nigeria. This will be another game changer that will have effect on job creation.”
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Vlisco group, Hans Ouwendijk, said the strategic partnership is a win-win situation for all concerned.
He said: “We want assist Nigeria revitalize this important sector. Vlisco group has been operating since 1846 that designs, prints and distributes of different garment brands. All the brands of garments we will be manufacturing in Nigeria will be a copy of what we do in other parts of the world with the same quality. We have started the process of getting cotton here in Nigeria for our operations. Discussions are on going with a Nigerian company to make this happen.
“From 1st of April 2015, our products will include cottons that are sourced from Nigeria. We have indeed began manufacturing in Nigeria and some of the products that were manufactured here have been exported to neighbouring countries like Ivory Coast and Benin Republic.”