National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN at the weekend decried the lifting of the ban on the importation of textile products into the country by the Federal government.
President of the union, Mr. Oladele Hunsu, expressed the displeasure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in Lagos.
NAN reports that Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, the Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service, on Wednesday announced that the Federal government had lifted the ban on the importation of textile and furniture products.
Dikko said at the official launching of the Common External Tariff in Lagos that textile, furniture and other items had been removed from the Import Prohibition List in order to boost the Tariff provisions.
Hunsu said the removal of the ban would further weaken the textile industry and eventually bring about its extinction, if the ban was not reversed.
“As regards the removal of the ban on the importation of textile products, we, textile workers, really frown at it because it will only decrease the capacity of local textile manufacturers.
“Look at the Ankara and our other local fabrics, they are being relegated to the background, and we are now wearing imported fabrics, despite the ban on imported laces and so on.
“With the lifting of the ban, it will definitely make it worse, dumping will become a normal thing, and we will be importing unemployment and exporting employment to other countries, I see this as we destroying ourselves,’’ he said.
The NUTGTWN president urged that the textile industry in Nigeria be revived with the various measures that had hitherto been suggested before the borders were opened for imports.
“If it was a sector that was already booming, lifting the ban on importation of foreign products in such sectors may not mean harm, but definitely not the textile industry.
“The revival of the textile industry was one of the promises of this new administration and I think opening of the borders for importation of these products is not a form of revival but a betrayal of promises. It should be reversed,” he said.
Hunsu recalled that in 2014, he had said that the nation was losing up to N75 billion annually to smuggling of textile products.
He added that most of the textile and accessories manufacturing companies had folded up.
NAN recalls that Mr. Samuel Ortom, the former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, had also in 2014 decried the huge number of job losses in the textile industry, saying that the loss had grown up to 776,000 jobs.
At a stakeholders’ retreat on reviving the textile sector, Ortom said the Federal Government was making efforts to revive the once-vibrant sector from its domestic market share of 12 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020.
According to him, the revival was expected to bring 60,000 additional direct jobs with the utilisation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan for the improvement of the weak links in the sector.

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