The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has kicked off the distribution of cotton seeds and other farming inputs, a major strategy to revive the nation’s moribund cotton, textile and garment sector.
The revival of the sector is a bold step to stop the $4 billion spent from scarce foreign exchange in the importation of textiles and ready-made clothing.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor kicked off the programme in Katsina on Monday with the distribution of the inputs to 100,000 farmers for 2019 farming season.
The programme is on the platform of CBN-Anchor Borrower Programme,
Emefiele noted that the past 20 years had been very difficult for the cotton, textile and garment sector resulting in the collapse of 130 firms.
In order to sanitise the system, he threatened to blacklist individuals, banks and companies involved in illegal textile importation.
The whole essence is for the local players to survive and remain in business.
“Farmers and processors have had to deal with low-quality seeds, rising operating cost and weak sales due to the high energy cost of running factories, smuggling of textile goods and poor access to finance. Smuggling of textile goods alone is also estimated to have cost the nation over $2.2billion.’’
“Nigeria was home to African largest textile industry with over 180 textiles mills in operation, which employed close to 250,000 people but only 25 textile factories are operating today, and the workforce stands at less than 20, 000 people.”