Nigerian Textile Industry Struggles Despite 106.7% Surge in Imports


Despite intervention efforts, the Nigerian textile industry faces continued challenges as textile imports surge by 106.7 percent over four years, reaching N377.1 billion in 2023 from N182.5 billion in 2020, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

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The NBS data reveals a consistent increase in textile imports: N182.5 billion in 2020, N278.8 billion in 2021, N365.5 billion in 2022, and N377.1 billion in 2023, indicating a worrying trend for the domestic textile sector.

Over the years, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has implemented various interventions, including financial support, training initiatives, and forex restrictions on textile imports. However, these efforts have yet to yield significant positive outcomes for the industry.

Nigeria’s textile sector holds significant potential, with a history of vibrant production and a large domestic market. In the 1970s and 1980s, the country boasted over 180 textile mills, employing millions. However, challenges such as smuggling, importation, power shortages, policy inconsistencies, and insecurity led to the demise of many mills by the 1990s.

Hamma Kwajaffa, Director General of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, highlighted the high production costs hindering the competitiveness of the local industry and deterring investments.

Similarly, John Adaji, former President of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), noted that 90 percent of textile products in Nigeria, valued at over $4 billion annually, are imported. He called for government intervention to revive the sector, create jobs, and reduce import bills.

Adaji emphasized the importance of infrastructure improvement and energy cost reduction to enhance the competitiveness of local textile production. He cited the success of South Africa’s textile sector revival through targeted government campaigns and local patronage.

Adaji hailed Executive Order 003, which mandates government agencies to prioritize locally produced goods, as a significant step towards bolstering the manufacturing sector and the economy if fully implemented.

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