BY ANDY ASEMOTA,
Katsina State Government and BUA Group have entered into agreement to facilitate 500 million dollars Katsina Textile and Garment Cluster that incorporates about 500 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, gave the government’s commitment to cooperate with the billionaire industrialist and founder of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, on the project when he received BUA’s Executive Director, Kabir Rabiu, in Muhammadu Buhari House, Katsina.
Masari, who approved a committee led by his deputy, Mannir Yakubu, to facilitate the initiative and determine the suitable location of 500 hectares of land for project, said the government has not only waived all fees and taxes involving the state but would bring its influence to bear on those involving federal government in a bid to boost diversification of the nation’s economy.
He added: “Your coming is really in tandem with our plan in the North West to have an economic body that will propel this kind of agenda. I think Katsina was identified to produce cotton and rice as well as textile and garments.”
The governor further said the multiplier effect of the Katsina Textile and Garment Cluster will go beyond Katsina and Nigeria borders, while applauding the direction and focus of the project.
On his part, Alhaji Kabir Rabiu said the conglomerate with enterprise value in excess of five billion dollars has concluded plans to invest in the cluster as part of the efforts to make the comatose textile industry viable again in Nigeria.
Rabiu disclosed that the infrastructural development of the project expected to generate over 25,000 jobs would commence soon after its ground breaking ceremony before the end of this year.
“Really, we have the resources to commence site infrastructural development as well as the anchor textile that we need to put in place within the cluster. We will divide it into two phases of 250 hectares each to get the development done as soon as possible.
“A lot of companies have already indicated interest in it. If you look at the garment industry, it is a huge sector. Nigeria imports 23 million pairs of jeans every year. If you see the cost of making it, it is nothing to write home about and we have the kind of cotton in this country to make jeans,” he stated.
The Executive Director of BUA, who gave snapshot of the group, revealed that Nigeria’s textile imports from China and India were valued at about four billion dollars, adding that Nigeria could fix its ailing textile sector by developing textile and garment clusters as in other countries with thriving textile industry.
He urged the federal government to initiate incentives for textile clusters due to their huge potentials in wealth and job generation and other socio-economic development.
“If you look at the percentage as in GDP, in some economies, textiles contribute about 90 per cent but the Nigerian textiles contribute may be less than two per cent,” said Rabiu.