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Nigeria: Decline in textile export earnings persists

Published date:
Monday, 21 June 2010

Despite its elastic foreign exchange earning opportunities for Sub-Saharan African countries, Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings from cotton yarns and woven fabrics’ export to the United States of America (USA) through the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act’s (AGOA) window and other foreign countries in the past few years have been on consistent decline with the attendant negative implications for capacity building for local cotton and textile manufacturing companies.

Available statistics sourced by the Nigerian Compass on Nigeria’s export since 2006 indicated persistent slide in export revenue on articles of cotton yarns, woven fabrics and other items all of which accounted for less than five per cent of the total export’s value during the period under review.

For instance, in 2006 total export value was $49,955,296, representing 5.22 per cent of total non-oil export trade value while total earnings the following year dropped to $45,552,559 or 3.26 per cent of non-oil export trade value. In 2008, the sliding trend was sustained as income from cotton yarn and woven fabrics dropped further to $31,754,740, an amount representing 1.74 per cent of the year’s non-oil export income value of $1,828,700,320. Although earnings from the foreign trade value of the items for 2009 has not been officially released, a source in the Ministry of Commerce who spoke to the Nigerian Compass on condition of anonymity said the total value for last year was less than $28 million “since the performance of the textile industry has been poor despite efforts of government to revive the sector”.

However, a report on the performance of the non-oil sector showed that the export value of the sector recorded about 139 per cent decline for the nine month period up to September 2009 when compared with the revenue earned in a comparative period of 2008. The report stated inter alia that “total income generated from non-oil export from January – September 2009, stood at $900 million while total amount accrued to the country from the sector in 2008 was $1.9 billion”

While reacting to the worrisome trend, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Jubril Martins-Kuye, was quoted as saying at a public forum in Abuja penultimate week, that his ministry was putting in place appropriate strategies to reverse the slide by exploring opportunities that would boost the nation’s non-oil export.

Specifically, the minister was reported to have said that government was “taking a new initiative towards ensuring that the policies, which have been put in place by the Federal Government, aimed at revitalizing the nation’s non-oil export, are translated into action” and that what government intended to do “is to raise the level of non-oil and gas export. And one of the tools that we want to use is trade shows and exhibitions, which will bring people together and connect them to made in Nigeria products.”

According to him, the Federal Government, in order to give vent to the agenda targeted at promoting non-oil export, has constituted a committee whose members were drawn from relevant ministries, departments and agencies and the private sector, including the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA) and the Nigerian Investment Council amongst others to organize international trade and exhibitions where made in Nigeria products would be showcased with a view to attracting foreign investors to the economy.

The Federal Government in its effort to explore the AGOA window to boost Nigeria’s export to the US had constituted a National Implementation and

Advisory Committee in place in 2001, appointed an Adviser in 2003 and reconstituted a new AGOA structures in 2008 chaired by the Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Key activities of the committees included; Sensitization campaigns on AGOA; Amendments to the Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) of 1990 to forestall trans-shipment of textiles and apparel; and Certification of Nigeria ’s folkloric articles such as Aso-oke, Adire, African prints by CITA under category 9 of AGOA textiles provision, amongst others

Meanwhile, despite the recent approval of N100 billion by the Federal Government for the revival of the nation’s textile industry, available information still indicate that many of the ailing companies are yet to recover as access to the fund still remains difficult since Bank of Industry (BOI) requires adequate security for disbursed funds.

By Tola Akinmutimi

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Nigeria's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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