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NECA commends CBN over forex ban on textile imports
Babatunde|March. 10, 2019
Samuel Awoyinfa
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria for reportedly banning the sale of forex to importers of textile materials.
The Director-General, NECA, Mr Timothy Olawale, made this commendation in a statement he released in Lagos on Friday, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent.
He said the decision had the potential of breathing life into the textile industry in Nigeria, adding that the over $4bn expended on the importation of textile materials only served to deprive other critical sectors the much needed foreign exchange.
He, however, urged the government to go a step further by effectively checking the activities of smugglers who might circumvent the government’s effort aimed at reviving the nation’s moribund textile industry.
He said, “The decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to stop the sale of forex to importers of textile materials is a welcome development. This decision has the potential of breathing life to the textile industry in Nigeria. The over $4bn  expended on the importation of textile materials only serves to deprive other critical sectors the much needed foreign exchange.”
Reflecting on the impact of the textile industry in the past years, Olawale noted that it provided employment to 25 per cent of workers in the manufacturing sector, with the first textile mill established in 1956.
He said, “The first modern textile mill in Nigeria, Kaduna Textile Mill, was established in 1956 in Kaduna, northern Nigeria and between then and 1987, there were 37 textile firms in the country, operating about 716,000 spindles and 17,541 looms.
“This period was indeed, the glorious era of the textile industry. With an annual growth rate of 65 per cent between 1985 and 1991, while employing about 25 per cent of workers in the manufacturing sector, the textile industry, then, could be called the pride of Nigeria.
“Efforts should not be spared in policing our borders. The porous nature of the borders has made smuggling a lucrative enterprise and this could derail the laudable effort of the CBN in supporting the textile industry.
“A coordinated effort by Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and other related agencies involved in keeping the borders secure will go a long way in protecting not only the textile industry but the manufacturing industry as a whole.”
Olawale added that the organised businesses urged the Federal Government not to relent in its efforts at creating a favourable environment for businesses to thrive, noting that “an Executive Order to reign in ‘Regulatory gangsterism’ would not be out of place.”
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