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CBN Mobilises Military Support for Textile Industry - THISDAY

JULY 12, 2019

Seeks security agencies’ patronage for local fabrics

BY  James Emejo in Abuja

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Thursday urged service chiefs as well as chief executives of para-military organisations and other agencies, to support the ongoing initiatives by the apex bank to revive the cotton, textile and garment (CTG) industry, through their patronage of locally manufactured uniforms. He said the CBN already had the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that all uniformed services and theatre wears in hospitals and medical facilities are sourced locally from the Nigerian CTG sector.

He spoke yesterday in Abuja just as the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), raised the alarm over the rising waves of killing of customs officers and men; with at least 200 of them lost annually to anti-smuggling operations. He also pledged cooperation with the CBN to curb smuggling.

Emefiele, at a meeting with military and paramilitary officers aimed at reviving the textile industry through enforcement of Executive Order 003 in support of local content in procurement by MDAs, said Buhari had directed full compliance with the order as it would help in curbing the pressure on foreign reserves.

He said the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) had been notified to enforce compliance with Order 003 among the MDAs. Emefiele, however, noted that through the CBN’s interactions with stakeholders, it was evident that MDAs had not made any “significant order for uniforms or clothing materials from our Nigerian textile manufacturers and garment companies and the government’s efforts at resuscitating the textile industry will not be actualised if they are not supported through local patronage among other incentives.”

The CBN governor led the service chiefs to inspect an exhibition of local fabrics, including military uniforms among others in order to convince them on the quality of the textile materials.

He said: “Our model in achieving this presidential directive is to facilitate long term contracts – five years or more – with our textile and garment factories to produce uniforms for our armed forces and uniform services using local fabrics and textile materials.

“We are not naive of the fact that the nature of your jobs will warrant special quality and security around the production of your wares. My team will work with your nominees toward ensuring requisite quality and security associated with your uniforms.

“Your nominees will also join our team to inspect the various textiles and garment factories to ensure their readiness to be engaged on long-term contracts to forestall breaches.

“We shall work out payment terms that fit budget releases for uniforms for various organisations. “You will agree with me that if this is actualised with your help and cooperation, it will impact positively on the garment industry and the Nigerian economy at large.

“We cannot continue to dwell on the neglect of past years, the best time to correct those mistakes is now and every stakeholder must contribute their quota to guarantee the realisation of these national targets. Our future is bright as a country but we must continue to take those little steps that will take us to our destination.”

According to him, the CTG sector has the capacity to transform Nigeria’s rural economy and revive the textile and garment industries by creating over two million jobs; improve internal revenue across three tiers of government and reduce $4 billion import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel.

In addition, it will also safeguard and earn foreign exchange and ultimately accelerate industrial development by making Nigeria a global player in the textile and apparel sectors.

He said the meeting signified the CBN’s commitment to attain self-sufficiency in cotton production with a view to serving the textile and garment segments of the value chain with quality inputs while targeting zero importation by 2020.

He reiterated the CBN’s determination to confront smuggling and dumping to allow for the success of its initiatives. In their remarks, the representatives of the service chiefs and chief executives of uniformed services all pledged to work with the apex bank towards the realisation of its objectives for the sector and the economy at large. Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the army had been patronising local uniform manufacturers since 2015 and promised to sustain the patronage.

He was represented by Major General Joel Unuigbe. Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, also said though the navy had been patronising local manufacturers for its uniforms, it contracted the procurement at some point, a move which it later regretted as the uniforms provided by contractor failed to meet expectations. He said the whole process of uniform procurement had now been re-engineered, vowing to patronise local fabrics going forward. Represented by Rear Admiral M.E. Ebe, Ibas who described the exhibition as an eye- opener, said: “The navy is committed to lending full support to the local industry. We will buy directly from local companies.”

However, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Ali, who also pledged cooperation with the CBN, said the fiscal and monetary authorities needed to work closely in order to effectively curb smuggling into the country. He added that Customs would continue to do their best to reduce smuggling.

He described smuggling as a big cost for the service, stressing that about 200 Customs officers were being lost annually to anti-smuggling operations

He was represented by the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Babani.

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