The Nigerian government has earmarked a N100 billion for the revitalisation of the country’s cotton, textile and garment industry, the Minister of Finance, Mansur Mukhtar told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Mukhtar made this known in Kaduna on Friday when he visited Governor Namadi Sambo of Kaduna State.
He said that N10 billion of the amount had already been released, adding that the money would be disbursed as loans through the Bank of Industry with six per-cent interest.
Mukhtar said that another N10 billion had been included in the 2009 Supplementary Budget for the stimulation and revival of the sector.
The minister said that a committee, headed by Tanimu Yakubu, had identified several problems affecting the textile industry apart from funding constraints.
He said that the committee had come up with some innovative recommendations, adding that the Federal Government had approved the proposal for a comprehensive overhaul of the sector.
The minister listed the major problems facing the sector as power, smuggling of textile products into the country and inadequate finance.
To tackle the problems, Mukhtar said that the committee recommended effective power supply, improved quality of cotton, establishment of a viable garment industry, credit support and collaboration with other countries to check smuggling.
Also speaking, Mr Humphrey Abah, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, said the textile industry, when revived, would give employment to about 10 per cent of the jobless people of the country.
Abah said that the other aspects of the committee’s report would soon be implemented to hasten work in efforts to ensure the immediate revival of the country’s textile firms.
Responding, Sambo expressed the people’s appreciation for the Federal Government’s efforts to resuscitate the collapsed textile factories and for the several concessions given to the state.
Sambo noted that some people involved in the textile import business had been exploiting the situation, as the collapse of the country’s textile industry meant good business for them.
The ministers and other top government functionaries later inspected some textile factories and the Independent Power Plant in Kakuri.