Omola Bake Fasogbon
One group, the Apparel and Accessories Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (AAMAN), has criticized the slow activity in Nigeria’s apparel sector, blaming the situation on the lack of an enabling environment.
While engaging the press in Lagos, they recently made an impassioned plea to the federal government for imported fabric waivers to help operators do business while spurring economic growth.
AAMAN President Folake Oyemade, who expressed his concern about the rising crime rate in the country, claimed that the situation is not unrelated to the extreme poverty in the country as over 70 million Nigerians are currently living in extreme poverty, according to the new report Life.
She boasted about the sector’s ability to bail out the economy given its huge prospects, but lamented the lack of investment and support for industry players.
She explained that manufacturers subsequently under-produced and under-produced, leading to dwindling prospects.
She said: “We can only speak of real production and growth if we are constantly producing, but that is not the case because the environment does not allow it. China is where it is today because it is constantly producing. It started out constantly producing for its population before experiencing exponential growth.
“Once we get exemptions for importing fabrics duty-free, we can sew locally and sell to local consumers at a very reasonable price. Once a price is cheap and complemented by quality products, demand will surely be high and continuous while manufacturers remain busy in the factory. “
Also, to ensure productivity in the industry, Oyemade pleaded with the agency for a temporary import ban on some garments such as boxer shorts, crew-neck polo shirts and T-shirts, including brand promotional and campaign T-shirts.
She reiterated that Nigeria, like Bangaladesh, can make fortunes from the sector and address many of its socio-economic challenges, including unemployment and crime.
She said: “The garment industry remains the highest gross domestic product (GDP) and earning Bangladesh today due to government investment in the sector. The industry has seen a huge increase of 79 percent in the past seven years and accounts for 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports. It is now the world’s largest exporter of garments.”