Following the directive by the Federal Government that all military and paramilitary uniforms should be given to a Turkish company, in partnership with Kaduna State DICON, stakeholders in the textile and garment industry have kicked against the development, saying the order was capable of killing the industry.
Last week, 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.
The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, had said that the Turkish firm was expected to develop local brand of textile materials and accessories. He added that a total of $13million (N4.68 billion) would be invested by the firm to finance the enterprise and make it viable.
Reacting to the development, Adenike Ogunlesi, described the development as shocking and capable of keeping the moribund industry in coma.
Ogunlesi who is the creative director of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble said they had been holding meetings on how to revive the industry, so this 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 patronise 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. “If you don’t 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.”
Describing the development as a security breach, Ogunlesi said it was totally wrong for a foreign company to make our security uniforms. She stated, “This is an opportunity to develop the local capacity, bring in technical partners to deliver on a project as big as this and create jobs. We are a sovereign nation, so why is another nation in charge of pour security uniforms? This is a project that has the capacity to grow the entire garment industry and it is given to one company. This is definitely not right.”
Also speaking on the development is the Managing Director of Sam and Sara, Mrs. Folake Oyemade, who described the move as unpatriotic.
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. 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 also 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.”