President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday received leadership of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers, and assured that his administration “is to create as many jobs as possible”.
Speaking at an audience with the National Executive Council of the textile union led by its President, Comrade John Adaji, at the State House, Abuja, the president said in the last four years, the Federal Government deployed limited resources to job-creating sectors like agriculture and mining.
While lamenting the closure of textile factories especially in the North which gave rise to crimes, President Buhari said: “We promoted policies that will support local industries such as import restrictions.
“We introduced programmes that provided affordable and accessible capital for both large and cottage industries.
“We also introduced Executive Orders that encouraged the procurement of Made in Nigeria goods and services.”
He pledged that his administration would continue to support the above policies and programmes in the years ahead,
According to him, his administration will not allow Nigeria to return to the days of exporting jobs through the importation of food and clothing items, which can be produced locally.
He said: “We will not allow Nigeria to return to the days of exporting jobs through the importation of food and clothing items which can be produced locally. We owe this to the over 200 million Nigerians.”
According to the President, the textile and garment sector has the potential to create millions of jobs and will therefore, remain one of the priority sectors for the administration.
While referring to his recent directive to all government uniformed institutions to use locally produced garments, President Buhari said unbelievable number of jobs will be created when the military, police, para-military organisations including the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), fully patronise local industries.
He, therefore, urged State Governments to buy into this policy for their schools, hospitals and other institutions.
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which Nigeria recently signed, President Buhari said: “We have developed a comprehensive strategy to fully optimise the benefits with necessary safeguards in place.
He stressed that “Our priority remains to create jobs in Africa for Africans, using a large proportion of African raw materials.”
Speaking on behalf of the union, the General Secretary, Comrade Issa Aremu, commended President Buhari for being the first Nigerian leader to grant the 41-year-old body an audience, and making the revival of the textile industry a campaign topic.
Aremu lamented over the closure of hundreds of textile factories, which used to employ “millions of workers more than the workforce of the Federal Government in the 70s and 80s”.
He, however, commended the textile-friendly policies of the Buhari administration such as the interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Executive Order on the use of local garments by uniformed organisations among others.
While pledging to support the administration to keep the youth out of the streets, Aremu urged that the incidence of smuggling be checked, to maximise the job-creating benefits of the textile industry.
President Buhari was decorated as the Life Patron of the Union in appreciation of his textile-friendly efforts.(NAN)