Nigeria: Covid-19 and the Textile Industries!

Updated: Sep 28

Nigeria | Covid-19 | Industries | 27th September 2021 | Virtual Wire

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In Nigeria today, there is a rapid increase in the cost of textile materials as it has never been for decades.

Nigeria is undoubtedly one of the largest markets in West Africa. She boasts of a population of over a 21million people. It is no news that the country is multi-ethnic and multi-religious, though the most predominant religions are; the Christian, Islamic, African traditional worshipers, and not forgetting the Jewish believers among them. Apart from being one of the largest markets in West Africa, the country itself is one of the biggest hosts of Small and Medium -Term Enterprises (SMEs), and among her booming markets is the textile market.

The Nigerian textile industry was in her glory days one of the largest employers of labour, with the federal government taking the lead. Nevertheless, this once cherished industry is no longer a major contributor to the country's foreign exchange earnings, neither is she among those taking the lead in employment generation. It is on record that out of the thirty-six states in Nigeria, twenty-six of them produces cotton which automatically makes the country to be one of the major stakeholders in the cotton business in West Africa. West Africa undoubtedly is the 5th largest cotton-producing region all over the world.

Despite the number of the country's cotton-producing states, Nigeria has failed of late to convert that raw material to a finished product, hence her dependence on imported textile materials. Statistics show that of the four hundred textile companies that were once operational in the country, less than twenty-six of them are struggling to be in operation today which has led to the country's dependence on imported textile materials.

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Nigeria alone accounts for over thirty-six per cent out of the sixty-five per cent of prints that come into West Africa. It is on record that Nigeria's print fabric market is flooded with materials from China which contributes over fifty-eight per cent and India which churns out roughly over twenty per cent with the rest coming from other countries and the country's local industry.

The demand for these materials is high, as man must meet one of her basic needs. This demand has made textile merchants be on the lookout for where these products are and at a good price. Fabrics like lace, crepe, chiffon, smokey, polo, suiting and all other materials are their target as there is a market for every product.

Some go as far as leaving Lagos to Aba or leaving Calabar to Aba or Onitsha. Of late, Aba, Abia State has been a major market for these products as there is a huge cluster of warehouses where importers who are tired of gridlocks in Lagos, and who sees the city as a better option compared to Lagos now sites their warehouses in the city. Furthermore, the large cluster of designers in Aba is another factor that made the importers choose Aba over other cities.

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