Nigeria: Huge Job Losses in Textile Industry

Daily Trust (Abuja)

Over half a million textile workers have lost their jobs since the reforms of the federal government started about seven years ago, the director general of the Nigerian Textile, Garment and Tailoring Employers' Association, Mr. Jaiyeola Paul Olarewaju has disclosed.

Mr. Jaiyeola told Daily Trust after a meeting of the governing council of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers' Association (NTMA) in Kaduna at the weekend that before the reforms, there were over 50 textile mills in Lagos employing over a million workers ,but today there are less than 20 operating.

He lamented the plight of the textile industries in the north which have all collapsed with the last one the United Nigeria Textile (UNT) Plc also dying piecemeal.

The director general said the industry will soon close operations of the textile and cement industries. "We earnestly wish to draw the attention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to this new problem bedevilling the textile sector and implore the authorities to find immediate solutions to the issue at stake", he added.

Mr. Jaiyeola called on President Obasanjo to impress on his Chinese counterpart who recently visited Nigeria that the Chinese should come and invest in the textile industry in Nigeria rather than encourage the smuggling of their textile products to the country.

He said government took the right step in banning imports of certain textile materials but wondered what will happen when the ban expires next year.

"Even with the ban we still have the customs seizing a fraction of the contraband butwhat will be the situation when the ban expires in 2007?" said Mr. Jaiyeola.

He also called for the improvement infrastructural facilities and the creation of oil reserve so that the periodic disruption in supply does not cause the collapse of the industry.

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