Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
The General Secretary of National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Comrade Issa Aremu, has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the recent ban on sale of forex to importers of textiles in the Country.
The labour leader in a statement observed that more than ever, the CBN has commendably financed development in Nigeria under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele citing anchor rice borrowers scheme that has improved rice sufficiency in the country as one of the examples.
He observed that smuggling and wholesale importation of textiles has contributed to the closure of many textile industries in the past.
Equating smuggling to what he termed “economic terrorism” he noted that the new initiative by the CBN governor would boost local production, create jobs and lessen pressure on forex if fully implemented.
While commending the CBN for all the creative measures it has introduced to stimulate domestic production in the country, Comrade Aremu stressed that Nigeria needs as a developing economy is creative monetary policies and development financing that could boost industrialization.
He called on the Federal government to complement the development financing of the CBN through fiscal, industrial and labour market policies that will reinvent Nigerian economy and ensure sustainable decent jobs for the youths.
It could be recalled that in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry, with over 180 textile mills in operations, which employed close to over 450,000 people.
It was the largest employer of labour after the public sector, contributing over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector.
In recent times, many of the textile employers have laid off their employees while most factories have stopped operations, leaving only 25 textile factories in operation presently and operating below 20 per cent of their production capacities with total workforce of less than 20,000 people.
Recall, the CBN on Tuesday March 5, at its meeting with stakeholders in the Cotton, Textile, Garment value chain in Abuja listed all forms of textile materials among items prohibited from foreign exchange in the official windows.
The CBN also promised a financial intervention to textile manufacturers with the provision of funds at “single digits’ rate, to refit, retool and upgrade their factories to enable them produce high quality textile materials for the local and export market.
Godwin Emefiele had said the decision was aimed at reviving the moribund sector thus, creating jobs for Nigerians.
The apex bank governor also disclosed that the country currently spends over $4 billion annually on imported textiles and ready-made clothing which is unacceptable.
He warned all FX dealers in the country to desist from granting any importer of textile material access to foreign currency in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.