The national body of textile workers union and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have commended the Federal Government for releasing N30 billion as part of the textile bailout grant.
The Bank of Industry (BOI) announced the release of the grant which was part of the N150 billion promised by government for revamping the real sector of the national economy.
The government had also on July 27 set up a committee to “re-assess and adopt a holistic approachâ€™â€™ toward evolving strategies that would facilitate the revival of the country’s textile industry.
Commenting on the development, Mr. Issa Aremu, the General Secretary of the Textile Workers Union and NLCâ€™s vice president, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Sunday that the financial aspect of the textile industry’s problem was being addressed.
He said “the release of the N30 billion demonstrates governmentâ€™s political will to resuscitate the textile industry but a lot need to be done.”
Aremu called for improved power and water supply, as well as custom protection of indigenous fabrics.
The labour leader also urged governors to complement Federal Government’s efforts toward that direction “because the industries are located in their respective states.â€™â€™
“The challenge before the governors today is that they must reinvent Nigeria on the path of reindustrialisation, employment, as well as security of lives and property,” he said.
He advised leaders to regard politics as the means of achieving this task, saying they must refocus beyond partisan politics and move on to the real politics of wealth creation and poverty eradication.
“Nigeria is not short of presidents and governors. What is missing today is goodÂ governance, industrialisation and development,” Aremu said.
The National Vice President of MAN, Sen. Walid Jibrin, also commended the government for the release of the fund, saying requests from members of theÂ textile industry that applied for the grant were being addressed.
Jibrin, who is also a member of the presidential committee on the rejuvenation of the textile sector, recalled that of the 250 functional textile factories in the early 1980s,Â only 30 were now operating but below installed capacity.
He said the ailing factories provided 800,000 direct jobs and about three million indirect employment.
He, however, complained that the figure had dropped to about 30,000 by 2007, adding thatÂ the country was losing about 325 million dollars annually due to tax and customs duty evasion by smugglers of textile materials.
He revealed that the countryâ€™s export dropped from 44 million dollars to about 11 million dollars in the last six years.
Meanwhile, the committee, which has four weeks to submit its report, is headed by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Department of Customs and Textile Industries as members.
Others are representatives of the Office of the Vice-President, EFCC, BOI, NNPC and the United Nigerian Textile PLC.