By Esenvosa Izah
Lagos, Oct. 9, 2020 The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) says textile industry remained critical in addressing the nation’s current unemployment challenge.
Its National President, Mr John Adaji, made the disclosure at a news conference on Friday in Lagos.
Adaji said the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to create 100 million jobs was realisable, if the nation’s textile industry was fully revived.
“The Nigerian Cotton Textile and Garment sector alone has the capacity to create more than five million jobs.
“Also, it will improve internally generated revenue; reduce over 4.0 billion dollars import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel; safeguard and earn foreign exchange for the country,” he said.
The union leader said no job loss was recorded in the industry during the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adaji said: “However, there were some retrenchment that had to do with retirement, but in terms of reduction of our members in terms of the pandemic, there was none.
“This was achieved through call for collaboration, cooperation and understanding between employers and employees, which was supported by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association and Nigeria Labour Congress.
“We had some cases of pay cut, but no job losses.”
He said that in spite of the efforts to revive the textile industry, it was still confronted with many challenges.
According to him, the challenges include: inadequate and costly electricity supply, smuggling, poor patronage, poor infrastructure, high taxation and interest rates and depreciating value of the naira.
“Although, the Nigeria Customs Service has recorded some achievements in combating smuggling, more still need to be done.
“Customs service should come out with creative measures that must include consistent raids of the warehouse of smugglers in Kano Lagos, Kaduna, and other cities of the federation.
“There should be establishment of a Presidential Task Force made up of relevant stakeholders, including the union, with the power to confiscate goods smuggled into the country,” he said.