The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has urged the Textile Workers’ Union of Nigeria to do more on advocacy to encourage Nigerians to prefer made-in-Nigeria textiles.
Osinbajo made the call on Thursday when a delegation of the Union, led by its National President and General-Secretary, Mr Oladele Dosunmu and Mr Issa Aremu, paid him a courtesy visit at the State House.
He said many Nigerians had become used to imported goods to the detriment of locally-manufactured ones, adding that “people want to be fashionable, people want to wear nice things.’’
He, however, stressed the need for effective advocacy by the textile industry and unions to change such attitude in favour of Nigerian products.
He reminded the Union that President Muhammadu Buhari had said repeatedly during campaigns and afterwards that he would revive the textile industry which would create more jobs for Nigerians, adding that the promise would be fulfilled.
“We can create a significant number of jobs if we revive and sustain the textile industry and the time has come for us to get back to the textile industry value chain,’’ he declared.
The vice president acknowledged various challenges facing the industry, including smuggling and the problem of power shortage but said it was the desire of the present administration to solve the problems.
According to him, power supply is critical to the industry and government is working hard to provide adequate power for industries and other uses.
Osinbajo said it was the intention of the administration to locate power plants for and around industrial locations, adding that there was the need for consumers to address the issue of paying for the facility in order to sustain it.
“It is important for the Union to dialogue with the power companies. The time has come for us as a nation to achieve something meaningful in this direction,” he said.
He then stressed the need for the nation to begin to give timeliness for the attainment of developmental goals.
He said “as a nation, the time has come for us to give ourselves timeliness and deadlines to achieve and get things done.”
Earlier, the President of the Union, Dosunmu, had informed the vice president about the forthcoming 27th Annual National Education Conference of the Union holding in Kaduna on Aug. 27.
He said the theme of the conference is “Buhari’s Administration: Revival of Textile Industry and Employment.’’
He then commended the plan of the Buhari administration to revive the textile industry, adding that such an agenda would lead to job creation.
The General Secretary of the Union, Aremu, noted that the textile industry was one of the highest employers of labour in the past, accounting for about 1.5 million jobs in the 80s in the country.
He added that the industry currently accounted for 30 million jobs in India and three million jobs in Bangladesh, stressing that “if revived in Nigeria, millions of jobless youths would be taken out of the streets.’’
Aremu observed that some of the greatest problems confronting the industry were inadequate power and smuggling and suggested the burning of seized smuggled materials rather than confiscating them as the current practice.
He said the seizure of such smuggled goods create room for the goods to return to the markets.
He also raised an alarm over some immigrants who entered the country as tourists only to turn around to become foreign textile traders, thereby invading the markets and undoing the local manufacturers