Governors of Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara States (North West Nigeria) have assured of it readiness to revived the collapsed Kaduna Textiles.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State spoke in Kaduna at the final plenary session of the Kaduna Investment and Economic Summit (KADInvest 2.0), said it takes a long term planning to get the industry back on its feet.
According to the Governors while responding to a question raised by the General Secretary of National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers, Comrade Isa Aremu, said, Northern States owned Kaduna Textile Limited will soon be revived, but as a garmenting assembly.
He said, efforts were at the top gear to ensure that the company when fully revived will produce uniforms of the over 1.5 million Nigerians in military and para-military uniforms.
Governor El-Rufai said, “Kaduna used to be called the Manchester of Nigeria because of the concentration of textile industry. And to correct you Isa, the textile industry had over 33,000 people working there at it peak in the early 80s. And since we came in, we have been working with the Federal Government to be able to revive the textile, because we need the support and cooperation of the Federal Government.
“The issue is that, we have to look at the entire value-chain, because if you revive the textile without the cotton production, there would be a problem. So, our focus at the Northern States Governors Forum is to focus on reviving the Kaduna Textile Limited, which is owned by the 19 Northern States as a proof of consent and our idea is not to begin textile production at KTL but to reap out the machine and establish assembly line for garmenting.
“So, we want to start at the end of the value chain; cotton, textile and garmenting, we want to start with garmenting, convert the KTL to a garmenting plant and be producing uniform for the Armed forces and the para-military. We have 1.5 million people that wear uniforms. We have already approached the Minister of Defence and Minister of Interior and they have given us firm indication that, subject to getting qualified partners and showing capacity to do this, they will contract out the entire production of uniforms of the military and para-military to Kaduna Textile.
“So, this is ongoing, we have gotten partners from Turkey, a delegation led by one of the North West Governors had already gone to Turkey to conclude the arrangement. So, we are starting from there, using imported fabrics. As soon as we create the demand and our hope is that Kaduna and the North West zone will be a cluster for garmenting and then go back and look at textile and then cotton production.
“We were told that our cotton is short fibre, it is not good enough. We are working with the Islamic Development Bank to come and work with our state governments to revive cotton production using long fibre as they have done in Burkina Faso and Mali. This is another initiative of Northern States Governors Forum. So, we are working on it.
“But I want to say that this is a long term project, it will take some time and cooperation of the Federal Government. For instance, power is one of the problems that killed textile in Kaduna. We have to resolve power, it is not in our hands. That is mostly in the hand of the Federal Government. But, we are doing the best we can.
“Water is another problem, we are working on it. And then, we have to very active step against dumping from China, unless we can tackle these three issues, and these are issues that are largely only Federal Government can address, I don’t think it would make any sense to revive textile production. But this is what we are taking up and this is what we are working on. I hope we will be able to report progress when we come back here next year”, El-Rufai said.
Similarly, Governor Yari of Zamfara State Governor assured that, the solution to textile industry state was near as the political on the part of the government is there.
According to him, “having realised that the issue of energy and dumping from China are the major problems, the government had the political will to tackle them. The land borders have already been closed against textile materials. If you are bringing textile materials from China, it has to come through the Sea Port and the implication is that you will pay a high duty, which will in turn make our own textile productive.
“We are working round the clock to ensure that these textile companies come back to life, so that our teeming unemployed youths can get job to do. Zamfara textile alone has the capacity to employ 6,000 youths”, he said.
In his own remarks, Kano State Governor Ganduje said, the textile industry has gone into a new technology and they cannot rely on the former system of textile production.
“First of all, we have to look into the production of the cotton itself. Our traditional cotton is not suitable for prosecution of the modern textile. So, what we have to do first is to ensure that we have quality cotton seeds and identify those states that have comparative advantage in the production of cotton.
“We also need modern machinery. I think what we should do is to get private investors that can be convinced that we are very serious in this. With that, I believe, we shall be able to revive the textile industry.
“We are aware we need power, so in Kano State, we are investing in hydro power project mainly for revival of comatose industry”, he said.
The Governors who also spoke about the social development of the North West region, stressed the need to tackle the menace of illiteracy, under-age marriage and social insecurity through free and compulsory basic education.
Governor Ganduje who lamented rate of girl-child drop out of school, called for a law that will compel all school age children, irrespective of their gender go school. He said, through that, issue of dropping out of school, under age marriage would be addressed.