Posted by News Express | 21 July 2019 | 1,199 times
Mr Paul Maduakor, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Zenith Sports Limited – a Lagos-based indigenous sports equipment company and manufacturers of Haggai Sports Wear – has applauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, for his efforts in revamping the cotton, garment and textile sector through inauguration of the Textile Revival and Implementation Committee. The sportspreneur whose creativity and passion for high quality sportswear led to the birth of Haggai in 2015 – having been involved in importing foreign sports equipment and kits for over 15 years – boasts of kitting over 30 football clubs at almost every level of the Nigerian Professional Football League.
In this exclusive chat with THERESA MOSES, a Blogger, the Haggai CEO speaks on how corruption affected the once-thriving textile industry, importation and sale of banned textiles by foreigners and what President Muhammadu Buhari should do to assist manufacturers, among other issues.
In the past 20 years, the textile industry had been in comatose. But recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) promised to do everything possible, with other stakeholders, to revive it and reclaim the lost glory of the industry. As an indigenous manufacturer, what’s your take?
It’s a very good one from the Central Bank of Nigeria governor. What they are trying to do is good for reviving the textile industry, but we also need the President to support the CBN, because the CBN is an arm of government. Presidential intervention will go a long way. I believe it’s a step in the right direction and it’s the only opportunity for the textile industry to break forth. There has to be a synergy between the indigenous manufacturer and other groups, just to ensure that the money is actually given to those who deserve it.
From your perspective as an indigenous manufacturer, what exactly went wrong with the textile industry?
From my independent investigation, I think corruption is the cause of the fall. When the government tries reviving the sector, the money gets into wrong hands; if you are not an industrialist, you stand to achieve nothing; because, indirectly, you’re not doing what you should, but get involved for the benefit you think you can derive from it. The major problem of the textile industry is first and foremost, corruption: People have access to free money and don’t know what to do with it. Some get the money and put it in their bank accounts because of the volume. And it has affected the industry. Another issue is importing competing products, which is very wrong. If the government cannot come up with a blue-print, the CBN cannot do it alone. If you want to grow, you work with competing brands to improve yours, initiate ideas and grow yourself; there’s no way you will fail. As an industrialist, keep improving on yourself. But, if you don’t have the machinery to work, how do you improve yourself or even grow.
What has been the major challenges facing the textile industry?
A whole lot, especially low cotton production, poor infrastructure, such as power and transportation, smuggling and dumping of textile materials, and low access to finance. Counterfeiting, inadequate local patronage, high-cost of production and multiple taxation are other challenges facing the sector. Emefiele promised to continue to provide leadership and power hubs to the CTG companies and create cotton production nationwide. He also pledged to work with relevant stakeholders to eradicate smuggling of textile materials into the country. According to him, the bank had engaged 100,000 cotton farmers to cultivate 100,000 hectares of cotton for the 2019 season. My advice to CBN is that they should take every process in the sector seriously without missing any step; otherwise, failure would be recorded. I want to use this medium to appeal to all stakeholders to support this initiative to help resuscitate our economy, and everybody must play a role.
How competitive are Nigerian textile products vis-a-vis foreign ones, and how can we discourage dumping of inferior products?
The truth is Nigeria is not competing in the textile industry. We need a lot of orientation and enlightenment with regard to funds, how to disburse them, and more. As a Nigerian and a businessman, I feel concerned! How else would you feel when you go to Kano and see that foreigners dominate our markets, selling smuggled textile materials and making a lot of money?
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