Pioneer President of the Carpets Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, CMAN, Otuekong Sunny Jackson Udoh, has called on the Federal Government to do everything possible to bring back the indigenous manufacturing industries killed by what he described as harsh economic policies.
In a statement in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, he said such policies made more than 30 textile companies in Nigeria go extinct for years, thereby taking a toll on the country’s economy, which has affected the auxiliary companies, suppliers, distributors, transporters and others.
He estimated that 60,000 workers lost their jobs, and Nigeria lost billions of naira.
Udoh, Chairman of Jackson Devo’s FZE, said, “For any economy to grow, the government as a matter of necessity and urgency should bring back the industries which are the backbone of any economy”.
“Any country that does not pay great attention to the development of its private sector, which includes the small scale industries, cannot create the required and much-desired employment for its citizens.”
He maintained that this fate which has been the bane of Nigeria should be tackled by the present government through enabling industries and production.
He cautioned against Nigeria relying on the importation of manufactured goods, saying it is dangerous.
“Any country relying on importation of most products the citizens consume cannot enjoy a stable economy because of certain economic deficiencies and market forces. Nigeria continues to be a dumping ground for foreign goods as there is no encouragement from the government for manufacturers to step up their game,” he said.
He said he and other frontline manufacturers in those days were intimidated, and their manufacturing interests were attacked for political reasons, especially during the military regime leading to the collapse of production of famous brands they even exported.
“Things became sore following the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC’s) alleged induced invasion, which led to massive destruction of our machines. The worst attack came during the military regime led by Gen Sani Abacha between 1993 and 1998. We became scapegoats, with some of my brothers here in Cross River State, due to irreconcilable political differences,” he added.
He commended current efforts being put in by President Bola Tinubu to revive or bring back manufacturing firms which closed shops and moved to nearby countries.
Udoh called on the Federal Government to institute a special fund for manufacturers in Nigeria to revive the country’s extinct textile industries.