MINA Blog- The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has given assurance of Federal Government’s determination to tackle challenges facing the cotton industry.
The minister, in a statement issued on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Ifedayo Sayo, said this was with a view to create jobs for unemployed youths.
Addressing a delegation of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) who visited him in Abuja, Adebayo said that the cotton industry had the capacity to transform Nigeria’s rural economy.
He added that it could revive the textile and garment industries by creating over two million jobs and improving internal revenue across the three tiers of government.
The minister said that it could reduce 4.0 billion dollars import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel, earn foreign exchange, and make Nigeria a global player in textile and apparel.
“In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry with over 180 textile mills which employed close to over 450,000 people,” Adebayo said.
He said that the industry contributed over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector.
“Today, most of those factories have all stopped operations; textile factories are operating at below 20 per cent capacity with a workforce of less than 20,000 people.
“I am happy to announce to you that Mr President is determined to change the narrative and rewrite the history of Nigeria’s struggling Cotton, Textile and Garment sector.
“In 2019, the government flagged off the wet season cotton input distribution to 150,000 farmers in Katsina under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
“They are cultivating over 180,000 hectares of cotton that will feed our ginneries. Production is also ongoing across many states with more to come onboard in the next planting season,” Adebayo said.
Earlier, President of NACOTAN, Mr Anibe Achimugu, appealed to the Federal Government to revamp the cotton industry to provide jobs for the Nigerian youth.
Achimugu said that if the sector was revived, it would not only help to take youths off the streets but also help to address restiveness, banditry, drug abuse and emigration issues.
He said that the industry is the second largest employer of labour in the country and deserves the attention of the Federal Government.
“This will enable the industry to contribute its quota to the economic development of the country,’’ Achimugu said.
He said that the prevailing global economic development called for a wider and more sustained approach to dealing with the challenges in the industry.
Achimugu urged the minister to prevail on the Bank of Industry/Leasing Company of Nigeria for special intervention for the cotton industry.
He also sought support of the minister for the payment of Nigeria’s assessment to the International Cotton Advisory Committee for the periods, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, which he said is 58,500 dollars.