The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) recently organized a one-day seminar to discuss the future of the textile industry in the country. ONWUKA NZESHI Reports
Around the world, cotton is a major raw material for the textile industry. Cotton and its uses for fabrics date back to 5000 BC.
The cotton plant is a shrub mainly cultivated in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and India. In Nigeria, cotton is grown mainly in the savannah belts of the country. It thrives well in Kano, Kaduna, Oyo, Ondo, Kwara, Katsina, Jigawa, Ogun, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
Before the oil boom in Nigeria, cotton was an important cash crop exported to other countries. Additionally, Nigeria had a very thriving textile industry which generated millions of job opportunities across the country.
However, due to some unfavorable economic and trade policies coupled with government neglect, the cultivation and export of cotton has declined significantly. The situation has led to the closure of several textile companies located in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Funtua, Asaba, Onitsha, Aba and Benin City.
However, the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), a coalition of key players in the cotton, textile and garment value chain, is stepping up its efforts to change the narrative for the good of the economy. The trade group recently held a one-day seminar in Abuja to articulate a coherent policy that would drive progress in the sector.
The ultimate goal of the talkshop was to revive the textile industry in Nigeria. It came on the heels of preparations by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments to unveil its existing national policy on cotton, textiles and apparel (CTG) later this year.
The workshop was coordinated by NACOTAN in collaboration with the German cooperation agency Deutsche Zusammennarbett, the European Union and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. Other key stakeholders are Cotton Production Merchant Association of Nigeria (COPMAN), Nigeria Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA), Cotton Ginners (GAMAN) in Abuja. NACOTAN National President, Dr. Anibe Achimugu, who opened the brainstorming session, revealed that the seminar follows on from a previous meeting roadmap for the implementation of the CTG (Cotton, Textile and Garment) policy. ) of the Federal Government of Nigeria. To achieve this, he said, industry stakeholders would benefit from integrity and relationship building.
He said that with these two approaches, the implementation of the CTG roadmap would be duly achieved. The chairman of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NITMAN), Chief Folorunsho Daniyan, said he was delighted with the participation, which underscores the importance many industry players attached to it.
However, he lamented that there were several meetings and conferences as well as policies on the sector which had not yet seen the light of day. Daniyan expressed hope that the rally will go beyond simple conversation and show greater commitment from all participants.
The Executive Secretary of the Cotton Ginners Association of Nigeria, Mr. Samuel Oloruntoba, highlighted the pitiful state of the sector, saying that a few years ago there were almost 52 ginneries in Nigeria , but currently only about 21 were working.
He said, “As a result, there are only 100 tonnes of cotton ginned per year instead of a potential 600 tonnes.
This results in a loss of ability and benefits. Oloruntoba expressed the hope that the decline of the sector would be stopped as soon as possible. Seminar participants observed that the Cotton Textile and Clothing (CTG) policy was inaugurated in 2014 but unfortunately, was not properly disseminated to key stakeholders.
This apparent exclusion of key players, they said, led to a loss of the desired benefits of the policy. They described CTG as the highest value-added segment in the non-oil sector which, if properly exploited, could provide and generate significant revenue for the nation.
He added, “It has the potential to generate significant foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nigeria. “Due to a population of over 200 million citizens, Nigeria is a desirable market for any serious player in any industry including the CTG value chain.
“The President had, through Executive Order 003, directed Nigerian military and paramilitary agencies to patronize fabrics made in Nigeria. “How many agencies are complying with the presidential directive today?
Many Nigerian paramilitary agencies want to comply with the presidential directive. “However, only a small percentage of their tissues are locally sourced. The others are imported mainly because their materials are supplied by contractors who prefer to import.
“We’re good at identifying problems without the corresponding problem-solving mechanisms. Focusing on the latter will lead to job creation.
“Business cases need to be developed for the CTG sector to have strategies to convince investors to invest in the sector.” A statement released at the end of the program observed that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) created by the United States government was one avenue that Nigeria could have exploited to benefit the sector.
The group added: “Most players in the sector cannot afford to access funds due to stringent conditions. This slows the growth of the sector. “The supply of cotton is insufficient in the value chain with the resulting repercussions.
Nigeria should have a bilateral trade agreement that would allow Nigerian players to have competitive access to international markets. “The CTG Forum is already in preparation. With this, it will become easier for the actualization of sector goals.
As a way out of the challenges, the seminar recommended the establishment of a CTG Council with about two government officials for regulatory purposes while the other members should be private sector actors.
He also advocated that the CTG Development Forum should have a strategic business plan based on the private sector and that there should be active collaboration among the actors of the CTG Development Forum.
NACOTAN has advised industry players to ensure that their collaborative activities are sufficient to make the Nigerian market space unprofitable for fabric importers and smugglers in the country.
Stakeholders also decided to create CTG transformation zones/clusters in different parts of the country. This would promote the concentration of infrastructure in these areas and reduce production costs.