Adebayo: FG will tackle challenges facing cotton industry
Minister of industry, trade and investment, Adeniyi Adebayo has expressed confidence and hope about the opportunities in Nigeria’s cotton industry.
According to Adebayo, it can transform the rural economy.
The minister said the industry could reduce the $4.0 billion spent annually on textile and apparel importation, earn foreign exchange, and make Nigeria a global player.
This was made known by the minister while receiving a delegation from the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) in Abuja.
Ifedayo Sayo, his spokesperson, issued a statement to that effect on Tuesday.
The minister assured Nigerians that the federal government would tackle the challenges facing the cotton industry.
He said the cotton sector could revive the textile and garment industries by creating over two million jobs and improving internal revenue across the three tiers of government.
“In the 1970s and early 1980s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry with over 180 textile mills which employed close to over 450,000 people,” Adebayo said.
He added that the industry contributed over 25 percent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector at the time.
“Today, most of those factories have all stopped operations; textile factories are operating at below 20 per cent capacity with a workforce of fewer than 20,000 people.
“I am happy to announce to you that Mr. President is determined to change the narrative and rewrite the history of Nigeria’s struggling cotton, textile, and garment sector.
“In 2019, the government flagged off the wet season cotton input distribution to 150,000 farmers in Katsina under the anchor borrowers’ programme.
“They are cultivating over 180,000 hectares of cotton that would feed our ginneries. Production is also ongoing across many states with more to come on board in the next planting season,” Adebayo said.
Also speaking at the meeting, Anibe Achimugu, president of NACOTAN, appealed to the federal government to revamp the cotton industry to provide jobs for Nigerians.
He said this would not only help to take youths off the streets but also help to address restiveness, banditry, drug abuse, and emigration issues.
He noted that the industry is the second largest employer of labour in the country and deserves attention.
“This will enable the industry to contribute its quota to the economic development of the country,’’ Achimugu said.
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