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The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said that about 8,070 jobs have been saved through the disbursement of the N100billion Cotton Textile Garment Intervention Fund.

Aganga said this just as the Vice-President, Nigeria Labour Congress and General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Mr. Issa Aremu, confirmed that 38 textile firms had so far benefitted from the Fund.

They spoke during the Stakeholders Retreat on the Cotton, Textile and Garment Sub-Sector of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan in Abuja, on Monday. The minister said that the stakeholders' retreat was necessary because of the importance of a revitalised CTG sub-sector in the efforts towards achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development.

Minister of Trade & Investment, Olusegun Aganga
He said, 'The is the beginning of an important journey. We want to make this sector number one in Africa. It is just not just about talking. We will come up with actionable points here to kick-start the needed revolution. We are already making progress with the reforms that are in place. Figures by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria reveal that the capacity utilisation in this sector has increased significantly from 29.14% in 2010 to 49.70% as at 2011.'

Aganga added, 'In addition, a number of hitherto moribund textile mills have been reopened, about 8,070 jobs have been saved while over 5,000 new jobs have been created. We cannot continue to be a raw material exporting nation because by doing so, we are exporting jobs, development and wealth. This is one area that the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan is trying to address.

'The textile industry is one of those areas we are looking at. We want to remove the barriers to increased productivity in this very important and strategic sector. One of these barriers is access to affordable finance. The Cotton Textile and Garment Fund, which the Bank of Industry manages at a very low interest rate, has achieved some remarkable success.'  The minister was optimistic that before the end of this year, the whole N100 billion should have been disbursed.

'But  from what we  heard today, we need more than N100 billion to be able to get to where we want to be because textile is one sector that creates significant amount of jobs globally. So, for Nigeria, investing in the textile industry makes sense both from the economic point of view and from the job creation point of view,' he noted.

Aganga explained that the Ministry of Trade and Investment was working with stakeholders in the textile industry to address the current challenges facing the sector in order to reposition it as the major driver of job creation and wealth generation in the country.