By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to obtain from the Bank of Industry/Leasing Company of Nigeria a special intervention in favor of the cotton industry.
This was one of the requests made by the president of the association, Mr. Anibe Achimugu, to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo during a courtesy visit on Tuesday.
Mr. Achimugu said that if the sector was revived, it would not only help to remove young people from the streets, but also solve the problems of unrest, banditry, drug addiction and emigration.
He said the industry is the second largest employer of labor in the country and deserves the attention of the federal government.
“This will enable the industry to contribute its share to the economic development of the country,” Achimugu said, adding that the current global economic development calls for a broader and more sustained approach to deal with the challenges of the industry.
He also sought the Minister’s support for the payment of Nigeria’s contribution to the International Cotton Advisory Committee for the periods 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, which he said amounts to $58,500.
In his response, Mr. Adebayo said the cotton industry had the potential to transform Nigeria’s rural economy, noting that it could revive the textile and garment industries by creating more than two million jobs. jobs and improving internal revenues at all three levels of government.
The Minister said this could reduce the $4 billion import bill incurred annually on textiles and garments, earn foreign exchange and make Nigeria a global player in textiles and garments.
“In the 1970s and early 1980s, Nigeria was home to the largest textile industry in Africa with over 180 textile factories which employed nearly 450,000 people,” he noted, adding that the industry accounted for more than 25% of the manufacturing workforce.
“Today most of these factories have all ceased operations; the textile factories operate at less than 20% of their capacity with a workforce of less than 20,000 people.
“I am pleased to report that Mr. President is determined to change the narrative and rewrite the history of the struggling cotton, textile and garment sector in Nigeria.
“In 2019, the government announced the distribution of wet season cotton inputs to 150,000 Katsina farmers under the Anchor Borrower Program (ABP).
“They cultivate more than 180,000 hectares of cotton which will supply our ginning factories. Production is also underway in many states with more to follow in the next planting season,” Adebayo explained.