Leather Industry Stakeholders say Lagos, Kano partnership will harness sector’s potential

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By Rukayat Moisemhe & Oluwatope Lawanson

Lagos, Oct. 29, 2020 Stakeholders in the Leather Industry on Thursday advocated a strategic partnership between Lagos and Kano States to maximally harness the potentials of the sector and improve its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The stakeholders made the call at a virtual summit, with the theme: “Towards a Sustainable Leather Processing Industry in Nigeria: Kano Tannery, the Powerhouse”.

The summit was organised by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Kano State Governor on Lagos Affairs, in partnership with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and supported by Tannery Association, Kano.

Mr Anthony Oneya, the Senior Special Assistant on Lagos Affairs to the Kano State Governor, said the partnership between both states will forge a way forward to expand local trade by bringing together value addition ideas and investments.

“The partnership between Lagos and Kano is long overdue and this will help grow the sector to the level it ought to be,” he said.

Oneya urged governments to support the improvement in the value of leather goods for both domestic use and exports through the provision of 21st century technology.

He said an improved tanning industry for leather will improve exports and give the sector the needed boost.

Twenty-two of the 36 Tanneries in Nigeria are in Kano, he added.

Mr Lawan Sule-Garo, Chairman, Tanners Council of Nigeria, in his remarks, appealed for intervention funds from government to revive the sector and create jobs.

Sule-Garo also appealed to governments to grant incentives to wholesalers to bridge the financial gap and give priority to the local tanning industry.

On the consumption of cow hides, popularly known as “Ponmo”, which could be used for leather production, the Tanner Council Chairman said “We can continue to get leather from other animals apart from cow. We must not deter people from consuming Ponmo because we want to sell leather.”

Mrs Toyin Umesiri, Chief Executive Officer, Nazaru LLC, called for the creation of a leather trade information desk to bridge the information gap in the industry.

“A classic example of gap is that end users are not connecting with what is available in the leather market and so source for materials and finished products from other places.

“If others get it right before us, then people would buy from them instead of us. Therefore we become irrelevant in that market,” she said.

She urged leather experts to understand the various rules of engagement in local, regional and global markets to benefit maximally from different trade opportunities such as provided in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

In his remarks, Mr Segun Awolowo, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), represented by Mr Abimbola Salami, a Deputy Director, said the leather industry could generate US$1 billion by 2025.

Awolowo stated that the footwear industry consumed 54 per cent of leather products globally and contributed about 25 per cent of Agriculture’s GDP.

“The Leather Industry is a major earner which can drive diversification from oil,” he said.

Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, advocated a holistic approach to developing the leather value chain for a long term growth strategy.

Mr Tijjani Sule-Garo, GB Tannery Limited, said that contrary to popular belief, Nigeria belongs to the top 10 tanners globally and supplied to global brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

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