Abuja - Trade and Investment Minister Olusegun Aganga has said that 8 070 jobs were saved through the disbursement of the N100 billion Cotton Textile Garment Intervention Fund.
Aganga said this just as the Vice-President, Nigeria Labour Congress and General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Mr Issa Aremu, confirmed that 38 textile firms had so far benefitted from the Fund.
NAN reports that in 2010, the Federal Government introduced a N100billion Cotton Textile and Garment Revival Scheme, under the management of the Bank of Industry.
The bank was tasked with the job of reversing the progressive industry collapse and ensuring a rapid resuscitation and upgrading the entire Cotton Textile Garment (CTG) value-chain.
Aganga said this during the Stakeholders Retreat on the Cotton, Textile and Garment Sub-Sector of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIPR) in Abuja on Monday.
The minister said that the stakeholders' retreat was necessary because of the importance of a revitalised CTG sub-sector in the efforts toward achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development.
According to him, the NIRP is strategic, holistic and integrated. It is strategic in the sense that we are focusing on areas where we have competitive and comparative advantage.
``It is integrated because we are looking at the whole value chain, right from raw materials to the market. We are already making progress with the reforms that are in place.
``Figures by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria reveal that the capacity utilisation in this sector has increased significantly from 29.14 per cent in 2010 to 49.70 per cent as at 2011,’’ he said.
Aganga noted that ``with the 100 billion loan CGT fund, a number of hitherto moribund textile mills have been reopened, about 8,070 jobs have been saved while over 5,000 new jobs have been created’’.
He said the country could not continue to be a raw material exporting nation; by so doing, we would be exporting jobs, wealth and development.
Aganga said that this was one area that the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan was trying to address.
He said the retreat was the beginning of an important journey as government was set to make the sector the best in Africa.
The minister added that it had become imperative to come up with actionable points to kick-start the needed revolution.
Aganga said the textile industry was one of those areas government was looking at and would want to remove the barriers to increase productivity in this important and strategic sector.
While pointing out that one of the barriers was access to affordable finance, he noted that CGT, which the Bank of Industry manages at a low interest rate, had achieved some remarkable success in this regard.
Aganga said he was optimistic that before the end of 2013, the whole N100 billion would have been disbursed.
Aremu, who also spoke at the event, said that there was a need for the Federal Government to increase the CTG fund and make it easier for textile firms to access it at zero interest rate.
``We are happy with the provision of the N100 billion CTG Intervention Fund by the Federal Government.
``So far, 38 companies have benefited from the fund and this has gone a long way in revitalising some of the textile firms that had closed down,’’ he said.