Stakeholders in the textile and garments industry have kicked against the directive of the federal government that all military uniforms and other paramilitary uniforms should be given to a Turkish-based company, which was said to be in partnership with Kaduna State DICON.
The stakeholders said that the development was capable of keeping the industry which has been in comatose for years.
Industry key players, who said that a ray of hope was beckoning at the industry that had been comatose for years as President Muhammadu Buhari repeatedly disclosed his interest to revitalize the industry, have cried foul over the new development. They kicked against the decision of the federal government to bring in a Turkish firm to produce the nation’s paramilitary and military uniforms.
It would be recalled that a memorandum of understanding to ensure the establishment of a military and paramilitary clothing factory in Kaduna was signed with a Turkish firm, Sur Corporatewear, in Abuja last Thursday.
Reacting to the development, the creative director of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi, described the development as shocking and capable of keeping the moribund industry in coma.
Ogunlesi said they had been holding meetings on how to revive the industry, as the developement came as a shock to her.
“When President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all uniforms shouldn’t be imported any longer, we were all excited. We felt it was high time for the local manufacturers to build capacity. We have met with the military and paramilitary bodies, and they have promised to patronize us. We went as far as coming up with a MOU, they made corrections and returned it to us,” She stated.
Chatting way forward, Ogunlesi stressed the need for the government to believe in local companies and give them a chance to grow.
She argued that government couldn’t continue to say that to say that the industry lacks the capacity without creating a level plane ground.
“If you down invest in capacity building, how do will grow? The government needs to believe in us. This is an attempt to kill the local industry because we have been looking forward to building local capacity.”
Also speaking on the development, managing director, Sam and Sara, Mrs. Folake Oyemade who described the move as unpatriotic saying it could further make the nation dependent on other countries of the world.
She said, “I was shocked when I learnt about it because president Buhari has more interest in reviving the textile industry and I don’t believe he was aware of this development.
For me, I don’t understand why the job is given to a foreigner when local investors have indicated interest in it.
“I have two garment factories and we have more than 1,000 workers. I don’t know what the Turkish firm is bringing to Kaduna State that we cannot do. The state government even offered them equity. We had even approached them for the same project and we didn’t ask for any equity, yet it didn’t see the light of the day. We offered to build a factory and employ their youths but nothing came out from it.”
Admitting that state government has the right to work with whoever they decide to, she insisted it was wrong to cripple local manufacturers by diverting all the military and paramilitary uniforms to a foreign company.
The owner of Wessy Tailor, Otunba Wasiu Taiwo, lamented that local factories had been folding up because there was no huge market. He stated, “Government needs to support and encourage us. We have the population and we have the man power as well. They shouldn’t give our jobs to foreigners when we are capable of delivering the same quality. The Indians and Chinese are already competing with us in the textile and fashion industry, yet you want to give our security uniforms to the Turkish. When they make their money, will they spend it in Nigeria? Of course, no; they will take it back to Turkey. They will only come here to make money, not because they love us. If anyone comes to invest in your country, the ultimate goal is to make profit.”