Uche Usim, Abuja
Efforts to curtail $40 billion spent annually on imported textiles and ready-made clothing went a notch higher on Thursday as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) inaugurated Textile Revival and Implementation Committee (TRIC) to revamp the Cotton, Garment and Textile (CGT) sector in the country.
The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while inaugurating the committee in Abuja stoutly called on all relevant stakeholders to rise unison to revive the sector that was once the biggest employer of labour in the country.
Emefiele said the part of the robust resuscitation blueprint was to revive at least 20 textile companies before the end of the 2019 fiscal year and 50 firms by the end of 2023.
He revealed that 100,000 cotton farmers that will cultivate 100,000 hectares of cotton for the 2019 season had since been engaged.
The committee, he noted, is to collaborate with key stakeholders to identify, name and shame textile smugglers in Nigeria; as well as develop a framework for eradication of smuggling and dumping of textile products into Nigeria.
The committee would also facilitate the production of 200,000 hectares of cotton fields by 2020 and maintain an annual increase of 100,000 hectares over the next three years.
It is also expected that the committee would work assiduously to deliver a minimum of 50 megawatts of captive power to CTG firms in the interested states by 2021, and facilitate the effective pricing and delivery of gas, black oil and diesel to CTG firms in Lagos and other interested states.
According to the CBN governor, the CTG sector, in the last 20 years, had been in comatose, assuring that the apex bank would do everything possible with other stakeholders to revive and plant it on the path of sustainable growth.
He listed the challenges killing the sector to include; low cotton production, poor infrastructure like as epileptic power and horrible transportation infrastructure; smuggling and dumping of textile materials and poor access to finance.
Others are; counterfeiting, inadequate local patronage, poor high cost of production and multiple taxation.
Present at the inauguration was the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna, Bala Barnabas and his Jigawa State counterpart, Ibrahim Hassan; among other critical stakeholders in the CTG sector.
In his remarks at the event, Governor Ganduje commended CBN Governor for the initiative which he said was the right step in the right direction.
He said he was happy that Emefiele started from the bottom, by ensuring the cultivation of cotton by the farmers.
He advised CBN to take every process in the sector seriously without missing any step otherwise, failure would be recorded.
The Governor added that to get it right again, strong institutions and good management team were required for the success of this plan to revive the industry.
The Kaduna State deputy governor, Barnabas, said that his state was the worst hit in the collapse of textile industry because it hosted a lot of textile companies in the past.