In a bid to attract more investment to the leather sector, the federal government yesterday approved a new national leather policy. Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu disclosed this to State House correspondents after the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, with the new policy, Nigeria can now harness its leather resources in a manner that will allow it make more gains instead of exporting raw leather or semi-finished products.
He said “National leather and leather products policy that will enable government attract more investment into the sector. We would now harness our leather resources in a manner that will allow us make more gains instead of exporting raw leather or semi-finished products. We want to prepare our nation so that we can process our leather and use the leather in production of finished leather products.
“This has application in almost every sector of our economic life, including footwear, apparels and automobile industry. There is hardly any machine that you will open without finding leather component. This is the only we can create more jobs and a lot of wealth. We would be in a position to fight poverty.
“In any country, they always start with textiles and then leather. Here we have comparative advantage because our labour cost is low. He further explained that as far as light leather is concerned, Nigeria is number two in Africa and number 8 in terms of exporting leather in the world.
“If we harness the leather we have in Nigeria and that we processed our hides and skins, we will be creating a lot of jobs and wealth because of the small scale enterprises that will spring up. You will now be having new business springing up. President Buhari is very much interest in sense ring that those who want to work can work.
“In terms of contributions, leather contributes almost $921m to our economy, as at 2013. There was a time leather was number three in terms of contributions from the non- oil sector. We believe that leather will help us achieve much to the economy,” he added.
On his part, Minister of information, Lai Mohammed on Shiites protest said “This came up for discussion, the Hon. Minister of FCT was asked to take up the matter with his own security committee.
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