The Ogun State administration is providing training and support for entrepreneurs to access skills on adire fashion to drive the industry and improve the livelihoods of communities. DANIEL ESSIET reports
IT’S a new dawn in Ogun State. The government is supporting small firms to move up the value chain with potential for growth and development.
The objective of the government is to upgrade the textile design and fashion production hub in the state. It has analysed manufacturing needs, assets, gaps, and opportunities available in the adire sector, such as job creation and neighbourhood development for small to mid-size firms.
To this end, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe, said the government is creating favourable conditions for garment production and the export of products.
The dream, she said, is to establish an academy, where high-potential design and fashion entrepreneurs can get prototypes made and produced without the obstacles that exist in the industry.
An academy and increasing number of businesses in the state, the government believes, would train workers to sew, cut fabrics, make patterns, and operate emerging technology in fashion making.
The government, she explained, was ready to drive more entrants into the industry with the hope of engaging unemployed youths.
Mrs. Longe, during the State Treasury Board Meeting on the 2020-2023, said the Garment Institute, which would be in partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) as well as the private sector.
She said the institute would go beyond increasing the production to enabling more entrepreneurs tap into the benefit of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to export products duty-free. And with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) just a few weeks away from its kick-off, Ogun State will have a lot to benefit.
The Press Officer, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Wale Osunbiyi, said the state has favourable conditions to support adire value chain, especially fabrics and clothing, for manufacturing and exporting.
Osunbiyi added that the adire market at Itoku is known globally as the major point of production in Nigeria.
According to him, adire fashion design and small fashion businesses are alive in most parts of Ogun State and that the plan is to sustain and keep design and fashion talent there and help young people create successful businesses and fulfill their dreams.
He said, in the bid to address unemployment, the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration is promoting the use of adire textile materials among public school children as part of their school uniforms with effect from the next academic term.
With the administration taking the bold step on adire, he said implementation of the policy would create more demand with the population of over 870,000 students in primary and secondary schools.
With the new policy, he noted more youths were likely going to find it a lot lucrative.
Also, the policy, he continued was an interesting as it addressed the challenge which has limited the growth of that sector, that is restricting the business, to a large extent, to an Itoku or Abeokuta affair.
The government, he added, believes the garment industry could contribute to strengthening domestic strong economic linkages, ensuring a source of skilled labour in the industry as well as increasing the attractiveness of the industry.
Commendably, he said the past administration in the Gateway State under the leadership of Ibikunle Amosun had constructed the Itoku Strip Mall and initiated a policy that requires civil servants wear adire on Fridays, but that had not proved sufficient.
In fact, if the projection that the Federal Government is considering opening the Nigerian land borders is right, Osunbiyi said it was going to be a blessing, especially for garment businesses in the state that are also determined to export their products to other West African countries.
The adire policy, he noted, however, requires efforts from stakeholders and the government and that access to capital was important. In support of it, the administration was still rolling out the Ogun State Government and Bank of Industry (OGSG-BOI)/loan at seven percent interest rate.
Similar, he said the entrepreneur could benefit from the Federal Government’s N75billion micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund.
To take advantage of it, he advised entrepreneurs, especially those in the adire business to get their businesses registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and ensure proper documentation to be qualified to access more capital from government and other sources.
He said there were incentives to expand textile and garment industry.
He said there was a transition to help local producers scale and upgrade production chain.