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Nigerian president assures textile workers of job creation

Nigeria Textile Manufacturers Allege Lack of Patronage

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By Dike Onwuamaeze

The President of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA), Mr. Folorunsho Daniyan, has stated that members of the association have not benefited from the implementation of Executive Order 003 since it was proclaimed on May 18, 2017, by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in his capacity as Acting President.

Daniyan is also the president of the Nigerian Textile Garments and Tailoring Employers Association.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, who is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the implementation of the executive order, told THISDAY yesterday that the government was sensitising the MDAs and realigning the public procurement process to ensure full achievement of Executive Order 003.

The federal government, through Executive Order 003, had directed its MDAs to grant preference to local manufacturers in their procurement of goods and services.

The executive order states: “Made-in-Nigeria products shall be given preference in the procurement of the following items and at least 40 per cent of the procurement expenditure on these items in all MDAs of the FGN shall be locally manufactured goods or local service providers: (The items are) uniforms and footwear; food and beverages; furniture and fittings; stationery; motor vehicles; pharmaceuticals; construction materials and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).”

However, Daniyan, in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, said the MDAs have ignored the products of the members of the NTMA in spite of the several demonstrations they had carried out to persuade the MDAs that they have products that meet their needs in both quantity and quality.

He said: “You would have noticed that I chuckled when you asked this question. The fact is that none of the agencies has purchased a meter of cloth from the Nigerian textile manufacturers. It was only during the COVID-19 period that a little quantity was purchased from our members. Since then, nothing has been done.”

Daniyan said he has not fathomed the reason the Nigerian government could not insist, “that our armed forces, our police, and the customs, etc., must patronise locally made fabrics? Kenya did it and is not regretting it today. If they say that our quality is not good then they will be upgraded.

“Another worrisome example is about one of our members in Zaria, the Zaria Industries. It produces tarpaulin of the highest quality that meets the military’s needs but they would not buy them from the industry. The military would rather import them.

“Nobody has told us what is wrong. We have met the quality. They have demonstrated it. You know that the military operations require tarpaulin and canvas that will not absorb too much heat in order to be conducive for their operations.

“All these have been tested. The one being imported from Egypt or elsewhere is not as good as the one produced by Zaria Industries. But why is the preference to buy from outside the country?”

However, Adebayo in response to THISDAY’s enquiry, said: “There have been achievements here, but we are still working on further sensitisation of government agencies as well as better alignment of the public procurement process to ensure full achievement of Executive Order 003.”

The minister also added that the government is working to improve the fortunes of the textile operators by collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria “to provide specific interventions such as machinery and equipment and have instituted a seedling program that enables the provision of cotton seeds to farmers. We are also addressing competitiveness of the (textile) sector by working with the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to reduce the cost of gas, which is a key cost component of the textile industry.”

The Public Relation Officer of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Comptroller Joseph Attah, told THISDAY in a telephone interview, that the NCS had been complying with Executive Order 003 and has been sourcing its uniforms from local manufacturers.

Attah said: “The answer to your question is capital ‘YES.’ I am very sure of that. I can remember that in 2019, some people came and made presentations with textile materials and some were adopted. The simple answer to your question is ‘yes.'”

In the same vein, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS), Mr. Amos Okpu, also told THISDAY that the NIS has been purchasing its uniforms from Nigeria manufacturers long before Executive Order 003 was introduced and has continued to do so to ensure full compliance to the executive order.

Okpu, however, declined to mention the local manufacturers that has been supplying the NIS its uniforms and foot wares, saying that he does not have the information about the suppliers presently.

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