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IGR: Nigeria’s leather value chain, unproductive, Onu laments

says industry can generate over $800m annually if…

By Idowu Isamotu, Abuja

Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, On Monday lamented how unproductive the country’s leather industry has been for years, particularly in the area of generating revenues in adding to its foreign earnings.

The minister, who stated this Abuja during the National Leather and Leather Products Policy Implementation Plan Validation Workshop was represented by the Minister of State, Mohammed Abdullahi.

Abdullahi noted that the industry is capable of generating not less than $800 million annually if proper arrangement was made, saying the absence of value addition has prevented the industry from upgrading its regional, global, inter and intra trade competitiveness.

“Nigerian leather industry tans between 40 to 50 million skins annually, hence it generates between $600 million to $800 million annually. It is believed to have the potential to increase the nation’s foreign earnings.

“To achieve this feat, there is need for value addition in Nigeria’s leather value chain to upgrade its position in the regional and global trade of leather commodities with varying implications on intra and inter trade, backward integration, employment generation, industrial deepening, increased productivity and competitiveness.

“We face the challenge of initiating visionary and creative strategies that will enable Nigeria move away from a resource based to a knowledge based and innovation driven economy,” he said.

Chairman National Steering Committee on Strategic Implementation Plan of leather and leather products policy, Eucharia Oparah, told the gathering that leather industry has witnessed a decline in its performance, because of the absence of a sector-specific policy and its implementation plan.

Oparah said, “Being a major productive sector, next to the petroleum industry in terms of foreign exchange earnings, leather is considered critical to achieving this objective. Nigeria has a comparative advantage in livestock production.”

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