In the quest to revive the textile industry, Director-General of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) Professor Hussain Doko Ibrahim has disclosed the ‘fundamental of fabric mechanics in order to save the nation from losing about $325m in potential value added tax revenue annually. BINTA SHAMA reports.
Extracting from the text authored by the RMRDC boss that the establishment of more industries or sustaining the already existing ones would lead to economic growth of Nigeria’s non-oil earnings, employment generation and also has a high absorptive capacity for ancillary industries.
According to the printed script, before the advent of modern textile manufacturing in Nigerian textile products of various types were produced by traditional methods and used for different purposes. The modern textile production came into existence in Nigeria in 1957 with the establishment of factories in kaduna and Ikeja. The industry became very vibrant and over 200 plants producing different textile products were established. Then it was one of the leading sub-sectors of the economy contributing over 20% of manufacturing output.
The rise and fall of textile industry in Nigeria
Study, shows that the textile industry depended on the world’s natural resources for power. The Industrial revolution impacted the society a great amount because it enhanced many small mechanical things to be more efficient. Before the Industrial Revolution, people were crafting small mechanical items in their homes or small shops. After and during the revolution they didn’t have to make their own mechanical devices, they could buy them, or have a manufacturer make it for them. During the Industrial Revolution, steam powered engines were built more efficient for the earth and for humanity. Factory owners became wealthier from the high selling products made from their factories. The impact of the revolution on society was that dirty living and long working hours and child labour increased. Industrialization led to the creation of the factories which impacted our lives today because without factories we wouldn’t be able to mass produce products and send them all over the world.
Demand for cloths grew
The Textile industry grew during the revolution because the demand for cloth grew, which meant that the merchants had to compete with others for the right supplies to make the cloths.
One of the main industries that benefitted from the revolution was the textile industry. The textile industry was based on the development of cloth and clothing. Before the start of the revolution, which began in the 1700s, the production of goods was done on a very small scale. Historians refer to this method of production as the ‘cottage industry’. Simply put, the cottage industry refers to a period of time in which goods for sale were produced on a very small scale, usually in a home. In this system, people produced goods, such as wool, in their homes or on their own farms and then sold it to local communities since long distance transportation was uncommon. This method of production was slow and inefficient and struggled to keep pace with the growing demand caused by the increased population. In contrast, industrialization allowed goods to be produced in a central location and on a mass scale. It also led to the creation of inventions that helped speed up the production method of many goods, but most noticeably in the textile industry.
Further study shows that in any developed or developing economy, the indices used in judging growth is primarily based on the producing power of that country, i.e. (Industries form the bulk of these indices). In Nigeria for instance, more than 80% of all finished consumer products are imported.
Nigeria relies more on imports
Nigeria relies more on import while its once vibrant industries are facing near extinction. The textile industry particularly attracts serious public debate basically because of the pivotal role it played in stemming the tide of unemployment between late 1950s and early 1990s.
The Nigerian textile industry, which was once a vibrant sector of the Nigerian economy, is gradually grinding to a halt. Despite government promises to revitalise the sector that holds numerous potentials for the economy, not much has happened. Nigerians who are not aware of the forces that have brought the once flourishing industry to its knees are wondering what might have struck the sector.
Cheap exports from China undermining local textile industries
Research states that cheap exports from China were undermining local textile industries. At the same time, the growth of Chinese exports to the United States was making it almost impossible for African countries to compete with China for the US market. Beyond that, the entry of Nigeria into the WTO in 1995 compounded the woes in the textile industry as it opened the market to cheaper textile imports, predominantly from China, as well as second-hand clothing from the US and Europe.
Nigeria loses around $325m smuggling of textile
Though there is an existing importation ban on finished textiles to protect domestic manufacturers, smuggling is still widespread. According to the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, around 85% of textiles sold in Nigeria are smuggled and the country loses around $325m in potential Value Added Tax revenue annually due to smuggling. Benin Republic, Nigeria’s closest neighbour, appears as trading post for most of these materials. Most of the Malaysian and Chinese second-hand good pass through that country. The border agreement between the Nigerian government and Republic of Benin further compounds the problem of smuggling and impacts negatively on the deteriorating industry.
In proffering a solution to the already existing problem is why the present administration ban imported items, alongside the Council seeking to close such negative gap in the sector.
According to recent record on RMRDC activities, the Council initiated intensive training for registered cotton farmers on best practices in the Southwest, Northeast and Northwest zones of the country to make them globally competitive. The council feels over-reliance on imports has led to not developing a raw materials base for the textile industry.
The training themed: ‘Capacity building training for cotton farmers on appropriate agronomic practices for cotton production’, that the production of cotton which in turn its finished products would be textile fabric, is a human basic needs.
According to RMRDC boss, the council had between 2015 and 2017 distributed about 14 tonnes of improved cotton seeds of different varieties to cotton farmers nationwide to boost crop productivity.
“There is also a need to harness the natural and synthetic fibres potential of the country keeping in view the vast land available and its petrochemical resources.”
The director general said the book is aimed at providing the basics to further enhance knowledge in fabrics production and their properties. “It is appropriate for learning and research, in the light of the strategic role textiles play in our life, and the the growth of national economy. This indeed will also create more jobs for the unemployed youths, create wealth and reduce poverty.”
Illustrating further, he said the book is an attempt made to provide an understanding of fundamental concepts to fabric mechanics in simple terms without complex mathematical expressions of the various forces to which the yarns and fabrics are subjected to while in use especially this year or tensile stress and bending or other forms of deformations. For example, waterproof or water repellent fabrics is important for both garment or domestic and military use but they are subjected to different forces in use. For example the military would require a rougher, tougher, heavier types of waterproof such as tarpaulin wagon cover etc; than garment,” which he says would be the subject of the next edition.
The information in the book is said to be for everyone and anyone who desires the knowledge to produce textile. For further details, contact the Council.