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Textile smuggling: CBN freezes 15 firms’ bank accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has frozen the bank accounts of 15 firms that flouted Federal Government’s ban on textile smuggling. Deputy Governor, Corporate Services Directorate, CBN, Mr. Edward Lamekek Adamu, confirmed this yesterday in Abuja at a meeting of stakeholders in cotton and garment value chain. Although names of the affected smugglers were not disclosed, they were, however, directed to shift patronage to local textile firms as restitution. Federal Government’s Executive Order 003 is aimed at supporting local content in public procurement.

It expressly states that all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) shall grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and service providers in their procurement of goods and services. Adamu said CBN was determined to revamp textile sector to its position, saying the sector was vital to Nigeria’s economic growth.

The apex bank, the deputy governor said, had committed over N120 billion to revamp the cotton, textile and garment industry value chain. He said over 320,000 farmers had been financed by the bank between 2018 and 2020 just as he put the expected output for seed cotton in 2020 at over 300,000 metric tons.

“This is expected to enhance the production capacity of the ginneries in producing over 102,000 metric tons of cotton lint and this is expected to meet and surpass the cotton lint requirement of our textile industry.

“As you are aware, in the 1970s and early 1980s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry, with over 180 textile mills in operations, which employed close to over 450,000 people. By today, if we had nurtured and encouraged the textile industry, that sector will be employing millions.

“The textile industry at that time was the largest employer of labour in Nigeria after the public sector, contributing over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector. This sector supported the clothing needs of the Nigerian populace, as our markets were filled with locally produced textiles from companies such as United Textiles in Kaduna, Supertex Limited, Afprint, International Textle Industry (I.T.I), Texlon, Aba Textiles, Asaba Textile Mills Ltd, Enpee and Aswani Mills amongst several others.

“The bank’s interventions in cotton textile and garment sector is designed to resuscitate and return the textile industry to its glorious days, creating jobs, diversification of Nigeria’s conomy and achieving sell-sufficiency in cotton production,” he said. In an interview, CBN Director, Development Finance, Yusuf Yila, said the bank had completed phase one and phase two of the interventions in textile sector.

“We have completed phase one and phase two. We are now working with the textile firms through the Bank of Industry (BoI) to see how we can retool them and take the ginneries to the textile. CBN is really collaborating with all the agencies and the customs.

“The biggest challenge is people smuggling textiles and garments. As you are aware, a lot of them have had their accounts blocked. As restitution, we are telling them to go patronise the local textile factories,” he added. Responding to the developments, President, National Cotton Association of Nigeria, Anibe Achimugu, lauded the bank for its intervention.

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