This followed the debate on a motion sponsored by Sen. Kabir Barkiya during plenary on “Urgent need to revamp the nation’s comatose textile industry”.The senate also appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructural facilities especially power supply to local textile manufacturing companies to revamp the industry.
It also urged on the government to encourage local textile manufacturing companies by providing them with soft loans and easy access to credit facilities through the Bank of Industry.
Speaking on the motion, Mr Barkiya said the textile industry in the country played a significant role in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy with a record of over 140 companies in the 60s and 70s.
He said: “The textile industry recorded an annual growth of 67 per cent and as at 1991, employed above 25 per cent of the workers in the manufacturing sector.“The textile industry was then the highest employer of labour apart from the civil service.”
The lawmaker further said that government policies such as increase in taxation, high cost of production, trade liberalisation resulting in massive importation of textile materials had negatively affected the production of local textile materials.Mr Barkiya said the resuscitation of the industry would provide additional revenue and assist government to diversify the nation’s economy.
In his contribution, Sen. Robert Boroffice said the importation of textile materials was as as a result of the comatose level of the textile industry.
“The closure of our borders is an eye opener. China closed its borders for 40 years for its industrialisation and development.
“I believe that the closure our borders should be extended to allow us put our house in order,” he said.
Mr Boroffice said the extension of the closure of the borders would serve as an opportunity to resuscitate the textile industry among other industries that had been characterised by smuggling.
Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe who disagreed with Boroffice on the fact that the closure of the borders would help revamp the industry said: “Closing the borders and doing nothing will not lead to increase in production of textiles.