Uche Usim, Abuja
In line with its zero tolerance stance on trade breaches, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday, said it has frozen bank accounts of 15 textile smugglers to serve as a deterrent to others flagrantly bringing contraband.
This was as the bank said it has committed N120 billion to the Cotton, Textile and Garments (CTG) value chain.
The CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services Directorate, Mr. Edward Lamatek Adamu, who made the disclosure at a meeting of cotton and garment value chain stakeholders in Abuja said the decision was meant to atone for their atrocities, while urging the undisclosed smugglers to patronise local textile firms to grow the economy.
CBN’s action draws inspiration from Federal Government’s Executive Order 003, which aims to support local content in public procurement. It expressly states that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) shall grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and service providers, in their procurement of goods and services.
Adamu pointed out that the CBN was determined to revamp and restore the textile sector to its pre-eminent position, describing it as one of the pillars of the nation’s economy.
According to him, over 320,000 farmers had been financed by the CBN between 2018-2020.
Adamu put expected output for cotton seed in 2020 at over 300,000 metric tons. “This is expected to enhance the production capacity of the ginneries in producing over 102,000 metric tons of cotton lint and this is expected to meet and surpass the cotton lint requirement of our textile industries.
“As you are aware, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industries, with over 180 textile mills in operations, employing close to 450,000 people. By today, if we had nurtured and encouraged the textile industry, that sector would be employing millions ofr workers”
“The textile industry at that time, was the largest employer of labour in Nigeria after the public sector, contributing over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector. This sector supported the clothing needs of the Nigerian populace, as our markets were filed with locally produced textiles from companies such as United Textiles in Kaduna, Supertex Limited, Afprint, International Textile Industry (I.T.I), Texlon, Aba Textiles, Asaba Textile Mills Ltd, Enpee and Aswani Mills amongst several others.