The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has said that the textile and garment sector has the potential to generate 2.5 million direct jobs in Nigeria.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the 31st National Education conference organized by NUTGTWN in collaboration with the Nigerian Textile Garment and Tailoring Employers Association (NTGTEA), held at Olaitan Oyerinde Hall of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abuja, from Tuesday 29th to Wednesday 30th October, 2019
“President Buhari had envisioned 100 million jobs in a decade. Textile and garment sector promises as many as 2.5 million direct jobs” it said
The confrence threw it weight behind the current closure of Nigerian borders by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as part of the strategies to combat smuggling while calling on the Nigeria’s Customs to effectively enforce the directive.
The communique which was jointly signed by the President and General Secretary of NUTGTWN, Comrade John Adaji and Comrade Issa Aremu respectively, said the revival of cotton, textile and garment industry, as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari would make this projection see the light of the day.
The communique commended President Buhari for changing the narrative of textile industry from that of closure to revival and recovery.
According to the statement, it would be recalled “That on Tuesday July 23rd, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the National Executive Council (NEC) members of the union at the Presidential Villa in Abuja during which the President unveiled a comprehensive Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy following extensive consultations with all stakeholders in the textile and garment value chain.
It added that the new CTG policy, in addition to the three unprecedented Presidential Executive orders mandating government agencies to patronize Nigeria goods (textile inclusive) through budget spending was aimed at creating millions of jobs for the teeming Nigerians.
The conference with the theme “Labour and Industry in the next Level” had in attendance
400 participants from cotton, textile and garment industries, self-employed tailors and garment makers from Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Niger, Edo, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Kogi, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Yobe, Benue, Kano, Cross River and Imo State of the Federation.
It stated that the onjective of the conference was to critically evaluate the current initiatives and the revival of the industry, as well as review and discuss the Cotton Textile and Garment (CTG) Policy and its policy implications on the country’s Economy.
The communique added that part of the set objectives is to generate ideas for industrial revival, job creation and ensuring welfare of the workers in the Next Level of the new administration.
It commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its development financing initiatives on cotton seeds to farmers.
It also appreciated the restructured Bank of Industry (BOI) loans to the spinning and weaving mills and facilitating the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the textile mills and uniformed services (Army, Navy, Police, Road safety, Civil Defence, Customs, Immigration, National Youth Service Corps etc) for their uniforms to be produced locally.
The conference observed that Textile Industry remains the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for most national economies of developing nations like ours.
“Indeed for Nigeria and Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2030, especially SDG 9 dealing with industry and innovation, African continent must innovate and industrialize. Africa must copy China’s industrialization drive which has within 20 years moved over 250 million people out of poverty through manufacturing and industrialization” it said.
It conference also commended the Bank of Industry (BOI) under the leadership of Mr. Olukayode Pitan for sustainable financing to textile operators to aid recovery, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for the support for industrial revival.
It said that it is a thing of joy that the implementation of the CTG policy is taking place at the time most African countries including Nigeria had signed on to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA). The Conference commended President Buhari for the signing of the Agreement.
The communique therefore called on the Federal government to develop a comprehensive strategy to fully optimise the benefits of ACFTA with necessary safeguards in place to prevent and apprehend unfair trading practices such as smuggling and dumping.
It also lauded the directive by President Buhari for special fund by the CBN and Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for capacity building and training of workers in the cotton, textile and garment value chain against the background of the new CTG policy and signing of the ACFTA, advising that the fund must be channelled through the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria.
The conference also underscored the Federal Government, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and all the stakeholders for working together to ensure a new National Minimum Wage of N30,000.00 for Nigeria workers and the consequential adjustments as it affects public sector workers.
It particularly hailed the Kaduna State Government and other State Governments that have implemented the new Minimum Wage.
It therefore called on other State governors and other employers of labour in both the public and private sectors to quickly implement the new minimum wage.