The textile industries alone can generate over 2.5 million jobs in Nigeria if the textile factories are revived, Mr Issa Aremu, a veteran labour union leader, has said.
Aremu, who is currently the Vice President of Industrial Global Union, said that the Federal Government could create more than 100 million jobs over the next 10 years with the resuscitation of the moribund textile industries.
He made the observation on Saturday in Lokoja at a one-day interactive session on the five-year policy thrust of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from 2019 to 2024.
The session was organised by CBN, in collaboration with the organised labour and other stakeholders.
Aremu said that through the CBN intervention in cotton production, the narratives had changed from cotton shortages to cotton abundance, adding that Nigeria should no longer import cotton from Benin Republic.
Aremu, who is also the General Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NVTGTWN), said:
“Now, the challenge is that many ginneries have come back and are ginning the cotton seeds. They will then move to milling, weaving, spinning and the final product.
“You won’t believe it, uniforms for the Nigeria Customs Services, the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Army are produced in Bangladesh and India.
“Consider the security implications of this, among other things. You know what, the few textile industries remaining have the capacity to produce the uniforms.
“We can even use it to kick-start new factories and you can imagine if we all agree that uniforms of primary and secondary school children should be produced locally, many of the garment factories will come back and this will make youths to be gainfully employed,” he said.
The labour leader also underscored the need to rejuvenate other sectors like construction and pharmaceuticals for optimal performance.
“For instance, we like to drive exotic cars in Nigeria but we do not have factories where these cars can be manufactured.
“When properly rejuvenated, the automobile factories for Volkswagen, Peugeot cars, Fiat trucks in Kano and Styer trucks in Bauchi can create decent jobs in these areas,” he added.