Military/Police/Medicals: Source Uniforms locally – Buhari

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…as CBN targets zero textile, apparels importation by 2020

…to reduce $4bn annual import bill

By Kayode Tokede & Funmi Oduola

President Muham mad Buhari has directed Nigerian Armed Forces, Police and Medical agencies to source uniforms from textile manufacturers in Nigeria to reduce 4 billion Dollars annual import bill of textile and apparels.

In the execution of this mandate, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele said the apex bank is targeting zero cotton, textile and garment (CTG) importation into the country by 2020.

Giving his opening remarks at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja on Thursday, he said, “our commitment is to attain self-sufficiency in cotton production with a view to serving the Textile and Garment segments of the value chain with quality inputs as we target zero importation by the year 2020.”

The meeting was held with service chiefs and chief executives of uniformed services with the aim to revive the moribund industry through enforcement of executive order 003 in support of local content in procurement by MDAs.

According to him, the CBN is working in line with the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to diversify the nation’s economy and create jobs for teeming population with the emphasis on agricultural revolution.

He noted that the CTG sector has been identified as critical and hold huge potentials to transform Nigeria’s rural economy and revive the textile and garment industries by creating over two million jobs.

He added that the CTG has potential to improve internal revenue across three tiers of government, reduce $4billion import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel, safeguard and earn foreign exchange and ultimately accelerate industrial development by making Nigeria a global player in the textile and apparel sectors.

Emefiele said the CBN over the time had engaged CTG Sector stakeholders toward reviving Nigeria’s textile sector, stressing that:  ”We analysed the huge potentials that exist in the sector, identified the challenges militating against the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s growth and development and presented quick wins for reviving the sector.”

He said the CTG sector is however faced with some systemic challenges which has hampered and diminished its role as the leading employer of labour thereby preventing its contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to him, “In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry, with over 180 textile mills in operations, which employed close to over 450,000 people and contributing over 25per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector.

“Today, most of the factories have all stopped operations, as only 25 textile factories are operating today at below 20 per cent of their production capacities, and the workforce in Nigeria’s textile industry stands at less than 20,000 people.

“Distinguished Service Chiefs, Chief Executives of Uniformed Services, gathered here  today are worthy Nigerians that have what it takes to change the narrative and rewrite the history of Nigeria’s struggling CTG Sector. Crucial to this resolve is the call for patriotism and the need to support local manufacturers of textile through patronage by MDAs as entrenched in Executive Order 003.

“Mr. President has directed full compliance with this Order as it will help in addressing the pressure on our foreign reserves through demands for forex for the importation of textile and clothing materials.

“Our interactions with Stakeholders revealed that MDAs have not made any significant order for uniforms or clothing materials from our Nigerian textile manufacturers and garment companies and the Governments’ efforts at resuscitating the textile industry will not be actualized if they are not supported through local patronage among other incentives.

“As a first step, we flagged-off the 2019 Wet Season Cotton Input Distribution to 150,000 farmers in Katsina, Katsina State on May 6th, 2019 under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

“These are cultivating over 180,000 hectares of cotton that will feed our ginneries and be used in the production of high quality textile for use by the armed forces and other uniformed service organizations. Production is also ongoing across 23 States of Nigeria with more to come onboard in the next planting season.

“We have also put in place necessary mechanisms to ensure use of high yielding varieties that will produce top quality fabrics and those that can compete in the international market.”

He noted that stakeholders have also observed that textile factories are carrying huge quantities of unsold  stock while garment factories are idle due to lack of local patronage.

He was optimistic that with MDA and stakeholders support, this trend can be reversed.

He said; “We have the mandate of Mr. President to ensure that all uniformed services and theatre wears in hospitals and medical facilities be sourced locally from the Nigerian CTG sector.

“Already the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has been notified to enforce compliance among MDAs.

“Our model in achieving this presidential directive is to facilitate long term contracts (five years or more) with our textile and garment factories to produce uniforms for our armed forces and uniform services using local fabrics and textile materials.

“We are not naive of the fact that the nature of your jobs will warrant special quality and security around the production of your wares.

“My team will work with your nominees toward ensuring  requisite quality and security associated with your uniforms. Your nominees will also join our team to inspect the various textiles and garment factories to ensure their readiness to be engaged on long term contracts to forestall breaches.

“We shall work out payment terms that fit budget releases for uniforms for various organisations.

“You will agree with me that if this is actualized with your help and cooperation, it will impact positively on the garment industry and the Nigerian economy at large.”

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