Posted: March 12th, 2012
The Nigerian textile industry is currently in the process of being revamped after a long hiatus. The industry, which once provided employment to the largest number of Nigerians in the manufacturing sector and contributed considerably to Nigeria’s GDP and tax revenue, has degenerated over the years with approximately only 20 factories in operation at present. In the last few years, the Government has tried to pay more attention to the sector and to put necessary measures in place to revive the ailing industry. A few questions remain unanswered such as: Are they doing the right thing? Is cash injection all the industry needs to come back to life? Is the money getting to the right hands or does it get lost in transition like most funding from the Nigerian Government? What about challenges imposed by importation of much cheaper textiles from China, smuggling, lack of steady power supply, lack of access to raw materials for textiles manufacturing from the agricultural sector?… The questions are endless. A Sunday Punch Editorial of March 11 2012 summarises our thoughts, fears and hopes for the ailing industry succinctly and its a must read for everyone. Kindly share your thoughts with us..
The latest initiative by the Trade and Investment Ministry to revive the textile industry through reinvestment of a 20 per cent levy on imported textile materials signals a deepening of its intervention in the industry. The government had previously set aside N100 billion under a Textile and Garment Development Fund to aid primary producers, textile manufacturers and other industry operators in 2009. According to the Minister for Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, “The idea behind the levy is that it will go back to the development of the textile sector. So, there are no two ways about it because that is what it is meant for.”
It is commendable that the Minister is so keen to remedy the situation. But that cannot be the whole story. Well-intended as the bailouts might be, the failure of the ministry to provide statistical evidence of how the massive fund infusion so far has aided the recovery of the textile industry raises serious doubts about the government’s strategy to date. From Lamido Sanusi’s Central Bank of Nigeria, the source of other bailouts totalling N500 billion in 2010 to the manufacturing sector (inclusive of the textile sub-sector); it has also been a huge disappointment as the results have yet to be declared.
The principles of transparency and accountability must apply in public funds management. Why is the outlook in the industry still altogether bleak after such a colossal fund injection spanning almost a decade? Nigerians must know whether the hundreds of billions collected by individuals and boards in the name of textile manufacturing firms were properly applied or simply converted to personal use. From past experience, there will be no shortage of dubious entrepreneurs lining up for funds…. Read More
SHF credits Punch Nigeria Editorial