Aganga: Nigeria Can Double $680m Leather Industry Revenue
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said the federal government is capable of doubling the $680 million revenue currently generated by the leather industry, if proper policies are put in place.
To this end, he said his ministry has initiated plans to increase revenue accruable from the leather industry to N20 billion annually.
Aganga disclosed this yesterday in Abuja while declaring open a two-day summit on ‘Reviving Nigeria’s Leather Industry: a Catalyst for Socio-Economic Growth,’ saying that the industry enjoyed little or no support from the government.
The minister stated that despite various challenges, the Nigeria leather industry should be commended for what it had achieved, adding that it had endured a lot of set-backs yet “the sector remains relevant till today”.
“They have developed the industry with little or no government support in the past. I am delighted to say this is about to change. I am very happy to be here today, the Minister of Agriculture is represented here, and this is because the government is keen on transforming your industry. You have endured all these and the sector remains relevant till today, but now, we must take it to the next level,” he declared.
He added that, “the sector is the highest foreign exchange earner after oil. We used to say cocoa is the highest but they have overtaken cocoa”.
Aganga stressed that the industry currently provides 700,000 directs and indirect jobs; and with this “you can imagine what it can do if we work together and transform this sector.”
While sharing the success story of Brazil in the industry, the minister said Brazil now exports her leather to over 80 countries thereby tripling its revenue to more than $2 billion, adding that Nigeria can do the same.
He said: “This is my vision for the sector, we can transform this sector like never before, we can double the revenue from this sector for the next three to five years. The Brazilians have done it, the Indians have done it; Nigeria can do it and will do it.
“The federal government is currently reviewing the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) to remove all the bottlenecks, and government drive to increasing foreign exchange earnings, it must be careful of exporting products without any value, and in reality it is only exporting jobs instead of creating it. Therefore, local producers must be encouraged to produce thereby creating jobs”, he added.
Aganga revealed that federal government would develop six clusters for leather industry which includes Kano, Kaduna, Aba and others, stating that government was committed to making the Kano cluster one of the leading clusters in the world.
He reiterated government’s commitment to reducing the cost of doing business in the industry and making it locally and internationally competitive.
“The ministry has developed the Nigeria Industrial Revolution plan to increase the economy by N20 billion by focusing on the sectors where Nigeria has comparative and competitive advantage to become number one in Africa and top ten in the world”, he said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Chairman, Leather and Allied Product Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (LAPAN), Mr. Bello Yakasai, said one of the problems facing the industry was lack of access to finance in the industry.
Yakassi expressed regret that this had led to under-utilisation of production capacity and reduced income.
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