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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Nigerian textile industry on its brink as few survivors left

Textile industries in Nigeria are in dire state troubled by fuel subsidy removal, rising inflation and the foreign exchange crisis, with a devastating effect on the value of the naira.

The naira exchanged for N1,500  against the US dollar last at the parallel market. The chances of surviving the epileptic power supply, high cost of raw materials, occasioned by high inflation and rising exchange rate, as well as inconsistent government’s policies, seem to be pushing even the surviving textiles factories to the brink.

The challenges for the industry are numerous according to industry players. They want the government to reintroduce the cotton board to regulate the sector from its current situation, revive cotton production, which is comatose at the moment, and also provide interest-free loans to textile industries to enable them operate optimally, they plead. The industry also wants the government to improve the power sector, by reducing the price of LPFO, which is the fuel industry uses to power its generators for effective and efficient production.

The most stable textile player in Nigeria is the Funtua Textile Industry that has never for once stopped production since its establishment in 1978, an indication that the firm is succeeding where several others have failed. This success is premised on the company’s ability to leverage on its available resources to survive, but like many other industries in Nigeria, it is currently struggling to strike a balance.

Though the industry is functioning fully, the fear of the unknown is glaringly showing on the faces of many of its workforce. The mill runs variety of services, comprising ginnery, spinning, weaving and finishing facilities, besides engaging in the production of cotton blended goods, bed-sheets, pillow cases and polyester, among others.

The Funtua Textile plant is  sustaining its  1.2million yards per month capacity, defying  the  monster of insecurity, inadequate funding and harsh economic realities. It has lost most of its export market and now relies heavily on local consumers to patronise its products and services. Despite all efforts to strike a balance between where it aimed to be and the harsh economic realities, the firm has 650 staff from 3,500 it used to have few years ago.

Speaking on the impact of the company, the Sarkın Maskan Katsina and district head of Funtua, Alhaji Sambo İdris Sambo urged farmers and agro-allied industries to be sincere and committed to government’s policies, aimed at rejuvenating cotton production in Katsina State.

In most parts of Katsina, residents acknowledged the availability and affordability of textile materials from Funtua Textile locally, known as Dan Funtua. But the availability is, however, not without some challenges.

Although at the moment, the textile firm sources its raw materials, especially cotton, from Katsina, Gömbe and Jigawa states, experts recommended the revival of cotton board in the country to regulate the market and ensure quality control.

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