From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), under the Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, on Thursday in Abuja graduated 165 trainees on Footwear manufacturing and leather goods processing/production across the country.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi in his speech said that the Leather Industry forms one of the vibrant sectors in national economy development, contributing enormously to the Gross Domestic Products ( GDP) of the industry. The potential of the industry he added, cannot be over emphasised, as it is a great tool for job and wealth creation, infrastructural and national development.
Abdullahi also said the industry through the deployment of science, technology and innovations has developed appropriate skills to implement suitable and sustainable end to end solutions for wealth and employment generation across the leather Value Chain (LVC).
He further said that leather commodity can be used in the production of wide range of materials which serves as the best material for footwear, upholstery, fashion design, automobile as well as leather products industries.
“The market share of the Nigerian manufacturers also in recent times has increased by ten percent (10,%) ,about sixty -five Billion naira(N65b) leather and leather products trasanctions were estimated to have increased in excess of Four Hundred and Fifty Billion naira (N450b) for footwear and Two Hundred Billion Naira (N200b) for other finished leather” products he added.
The Minister further said the reality about these developments is that ninety percent ( 90% of the benefits goes to foreign countries while on ten percent 10% goes into domestic accounts adding that the ministry through NILEST is making frantic efforts to reverse the huge capital flight by putting together the first ever stand alone National Leather and Leather Products Policy in Nigeria and it’s implementation plan.
The policy he said and other established manufacturing, important and exportation platform would help checkmate certain operations and regulate stakeholders activities within the industry.
Abdullahi therefore commended the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology for their initiatives and the rigorous process of selecting and empowering the 165 Nigerian youths as this would make them employable and eventually becomes employees of labour in the near future that would contribute to the socio economic growth of the country.
Earlier, the Director General of the Institute Professor M.K Yakubu, in his welcome address, said the first-time trainees were simultaneously camped together in different zones for effective coaching and mentoring and the training programs was eighty percent practical and hands on.
The training program he added is to a boost to unlock the ernomous potentials existing in the leather sector for the benefit of the country.