The governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, has called on stakeholders to step up support for the hides and skin sector.
The governor who made the call while delivering the keynote address at the first National Summit on Hides and Skins Value Chain organised by Inclusive-Access Synergy Limited in Abuja yesterday, noted that the sector, if properly harnessed, has the potential of contributing billions of US dollars to the Nigerian economy.
Governor Bagudu said, “Government has provided enabling environment, the organisers have provided this forum, the next thing is to move into the action phase and approach the right institutions as the Ministry of Trade and Investment, CBN among others and then strengthen the association so we can speak with one voice on what we want and what we do not.
“It’s amazing the number of young men and women who are interested and are today designers and producers of various leather products in Nigeria. They are able to compete globally. So if we mobilise all of them and provide the enabling environment, I believe the hides and skin sector will begin to contribute billions of dollars to the Nigerian economy and create more jobs.
“And I believe state governments will help and support the process in various ways; we have started in my state,” he said.
Speaking to newsmen on the challenges, the chairman, Leather and Allied Products Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (LAPAN), Alhaji Mustafa Nagebu, identified lack of control, unfavourable government policies and high interest rate in the country as largely responsible for the dwindling fortunes of the sector over the years.
“The challenges are many, the regulations guiding the procurement of the raw materials, i.e the skin from the carcasses at abattoir and preserve them which were effective from the colonial era through the 80s had collapsed, and so the control which used to make the sub sector work has not been there. Now everybody does what he likes, and the consequence is the avoidable scarcity of the materials for use,” Nagebu said.