The federal government has said that it is making frantic efforts to reverse the huge capital flight in the leather industry by putting together the first ever stand alone National Leather and Leather Products Policy in Nigeria and its implementation plan.
Minister of State for Science Technology and Innovation Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi said this during the graduation of 165 trainees on footwear manufacturing and leather goods processing/production across the country, organized by the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST) in Abuja yesterday.
The 165 graduates drawn from the Federal Capital Territory, Kogi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kwara, Imo, Borno and Nasarawa states trained on footwear manufacturing and leather goods that held simultaneously in Abuja and other five locations across the country, a statement the ministry said.
The minister said “The market share of the Nigerian manufacturers also in recent times has increased by ten 10 per cent, about N65 billion leather and leather products transactions were estimated to have increased in excess of N450 billion for footwear and N200 billion for other finished leather” .
The Minister however, said the reality about these developments is that ninety percent 90 per cent of the benefits goes to foreign countries while only 10 per cent goes into domestic accounts, adding that the ministry through NILEST is making frantic efforts to reverse the huge capital flight.
He said that the National Leather and Leather Products Policy in Nigeria and other established manufacturing, importation and exportation platform would help checkmate certain operations and regulate stakeholders activities within the industry, the statement added.
Abdullahi said further that the Leather Industry forms one of the vibrant sectors in national economy development, contributing enormously to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the industry. The potential of the industry he added cannot be over emphasised, as it is a great tool for job and wealth creation, infrastructural and national development.
He stressed that the industry through the deployment of science, technology and innovation has developed appropriate skills to implement suitable and sustainable end to end solutions for wealth and employment generation across the leather Value Chain (LVC).
He further said that leather commodity can be used in the production of wide range of materials which serves as the best material for footwear, upholstery, fashion design, automobile as well as leather products industries.
Abdullahi therefore commended the NILEST for their initiatives and the rigorous process of selecting and empowering the 165 Nigerian youths as this would make them employable and eventually becomes employees of labour in the near future that would contribute to the socio economic growth of the country.
Earlier, the director general of the Institute Professor M.K Yakubu, in his welcome address, said the first-time trainees were simultaneously camped together in different zones for effective coaching and mentoring and the training programs was eighty percent practical and hands on.
The training programme, he added is to a boost to unlock the enormous potentials existing in the leather sector for the benefit of the country.