The Senate on Tuesday appealed to the Federal Government to ban the importation of textiles in the country for a period of five years to allow for the production of local textile materials.
This followed the debate on a motion sponsored by Sen. Kabir Barkiya (APC-Katsina Central) during plenary on “Urgent need to revamp the nation’s comatose textile industry”.
The Upper chamber also appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructural facilities especially power supply to local textile manufacturing companies to revamp the industry. It also called on the government to encourage local textile manufacturing companies by providing them with soft loans and easy access to credit facilities through the Bank of Industry.
Debating the motion, Barkiya noted that the textile industry in the country played a significant role in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy with a record of over 140 companies in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The textile industry recorded an annual growth of 67 percent and as of 1991, employed above 25 percent of the workers in the manufacturing sector. The textile industry was then the highest employer of labour apart from the civil service” Barkiya said.
He noted that the industry had witnessed a massive decline in the last two decades with many textile companies such as Kaduna Textile, Kano Textile, and Aba Textile among others closing shops and throwing their workers into the job market.
The lawmaker further said that government policies like an increase in taxation, high cost of production, trade liberalisation resulting in massive importation of textile materials had negatively affected the production of local textile materials.
Barkiya said that the resuscitation of the industry would provide additional revenue and assist government to diversify the nation’s economy.
In his remark, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said that as Nigeria had signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, “we have to be prepared for the repercussions.
“We cannot stop trading easily with other people. We have to up our game; we need to be competitive,” Lawan said.