The federal government has launched the National leather and leather products policy to help hasten transformation in the leather industry.
At the launch in Abuja, the Vice president Prof. Yemi Osibanjo said the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari was committed to the promotion and increase of local content in all socio-economic activities in the country saying that the leather industry has a great export potential and job creation for Nigeria.
Prof. Osibanjo noted that the sector if effectively harnessed would be a major export in the country and that Nigeria finished and semi finished leather products have the highest patronage in several countries of the world.
“We are told the leather and leather product itself currently employs over seven hundred thousand workers with about five hundred thousand workers in the finished Leather goods sector”.
He explained that the policy would provide an opportunity to develop a credit guarantee scheme for manufacturers.
He further said that countries like Spain, Italy, China, and the West African sub-region are prime destinations for Nigerian leather products.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu hailed the leather products policy as the first strategic implementation plan for the leather and leather products policy in Nigeria.
In his words, “The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is supporting this important initiative through offering leadership in the transformation of our economy from a resource-based to a knowledge and Innovation-driven one.”
Dr. Onu further said the policy will help the effective and efficient exploitation of Nigeria’s natural resources, earn and conserve foreign exchange, create jobs, and help promote the country’s drive for self-reliance.
The Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi noted that the implementation plan covers eight thematic areas which are; Research and Development, Governance, Intellectual property Rights, E-Leather, Compliance, Environment and social best practices, standards, marketing and patronage, Funding as well as Fiscal measures, and Critical Infrastructure.
He also noted that if the leather policy is fully implemented, it will create an enabling environment that will sustain all-inclusive growth for local and small enterprises as well attract and protect investments, improve production output and promote innovation in the country.
The Director-General of Nigeria Institute of Leather Science and Technology prof Mohammed Yakubu said the policy was the first of its kind with transformative potential.
He said the policy would bring together all the critical stakeholders in the industry and help increase their capacity.