Some dealers in Hides and Skin, producers of bags and shoes in Bauchi and Gombe, have called for the establishment of leather industries to boost their business in the respective states.

The traders, who made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), lamented that the absence of modern tanneries in these areas was adversely affecting their business.

The makers of bags and shoes in Bauchi said that they were travelling to Jos, Aba or Kano to purchase leather, as there were no leather factories or tanneries in the state.

A shoe maker, Malam Umar Isa, said establishing leather industry in the state would boost their trade and pave way for other economic activities.

“If government invests in leather industries, we will do better than we are doing now and our production will increase.

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“Some of us are talented but because the source of raw materials is far from us, we are being confronted by a lot of challenges.

“Accessing raw materials in Bauchi is difficult; if you want something unique, you have
to travel to Jos, Aba or Kano, to purchase the raw materials,’’ he said.

Another shoe maker, Malam Ahmad Ibrahim, said that lack of leather production
company in the state was affecting the shoe and bag making trade in the state.

He said that he had trained lots of youth but due to financial constraints, most of them were unable to start their own business.

“Starting up business requires reasonable capital as one needs lots of items to make quality products.

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“Procuring the raw materials means having to travel to other states and the logistic expenses add to cost of production,” Ibrahim said.

Also speaking, Malam Sani Garba, a furniture maker, said that leather, being a raw material that added value to his products, should be made available in the state as it would boost the trade.

Garba said that if the government floated a leather industry, more than 70 per cent of their problems would be solved.

Malam Abubakar Maifata, a Hides and Skin dealer in Gombe, said that over 50 tones of the products were being realised in the area,weekly.

Maifata, who is the state Chairman of Hides and Skin dealers Association, also stated that members of the union were generating over N4 million within the period.

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“But our major challenge now is the absence of industries and tanneries in the state.

“We are appealing to the government to assist us by establishing factories which will process the Hides and Skin before exporting the leather; we believe this will boost our business.
“Right now, we transport our goods to Calabar or Lagos for processing before exporting them to Italy,” he said.

The chairman, therefore, appealed to Government as well as individuals to establish leather industries in the state to enable them process their products with ease.

He said this would help generate more revenue for the government and create employment opportunities in the area.(NAN)