The Senate on Tuesday appealed to the Federal Government to ban importation of textiles for a period of five years to allow for the production of local textiles.
This followed the debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Kabir Barkiya (APC-Katsina Central) during plenary session on “Urgent need to revamp the nation’s comatose textile industry”.
The upper chamber also appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructural facilities especially power supply to local textile manufacturing companies to revamp the industry.
It also called on the government to encourage local textile manufacturing companies by providing them with soft loans and easy access to credit facilities through the Bank of Industry.
Barkiya noted that the textile industry played a significant role in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy with a record of over 140 companies in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The textile industry recorded an annual growth of 67 per cent and as of 1991, employed above 25 per cent of the workers in the manufacturing sector. The textile industry was then the highest employer of labour apart from the civil service.”
He noted that the industry had witnessed massive decline in the last two decades with many textile companies such as Kaduna Textile, Kano Textile and Aba Textile closing shop and throwing their workers into the job market.
Contributing, Senator Robert Boroffice (APC-Ondo North) said that the importation of textile materials was as a result of the comatose textile industry.
“The closure of our borders is an eye opener. China closed its borders for 40 years for its industrialisation and development. I believe that the closure of our borders should be extended to allow us to put our house in order.”
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said as Nigeria had signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, “We have to be prepared for the repercussions.
“We cannot stop trading easily with other people. We have to up our game; we need to be competitive,” Lawan said.