The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says the exclusion of all forms of textile materials from the foreign exchange market poses a threat to the N5 trillion fashion industry.
Muda Yusuf, Director-General of LCCI, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Lagos, noted that tailoring, accessories and garment industry would suffer a setback.
Mr Yusuf said that the industry which had created over 500,000 jobs was one of the fastest growing industries and had brought amazing opportunities for many young Nigerians to express their creativity and innovation.
“The industry provides significant value addition to fabrics, whether imported or domestically produced, and the policy contemplation of the CBN will put all of these at risk,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on March 5, added all forms of textile materials to its FOREX restriction list to rejuvenate the textile industry and ensure that the needed growth was actualised.
Mr Yusuf noted that the fashion industry responded to changing tastes and trends in the global world.
According to him, currently, the range of fabrics produced by local textile industry cannot support the fashion industry in terms of the quantity and quality.
“Today, Nigeria is clearly the leader in Africa as far as the fashion industry is concerned.
“This vibrant industry should not be sacrificed on the altar of textile industry re-generation.
“This submission is not to diminish the importance of textile industries in any way or the significance of industrialisation. It is to underscore the importance of a strategic approach to industrialisation,” he said.
Mr Yusuf noted that the fundamental issue was to address infrastructure challenges, adding that the textile industry needed to be saved from the excruciating burden of high operating and production costs.
According to him, as the country progresses to the next level of the Buhari administration, policy coordination and collaboration among the economic ministries and agencies is imperative.
“There should be collaboration and coordination between the CBN, the Finance Ministry, Budget and Planning and Trade and Investment on trade policy issues.
“The boundaries of monetary policy need to be properly defined. Exclusion of sectors from the forex market is not a monetary policy issue. It is trade policy matter.
“Monetary policy is about managing liquidity to influence the direction of credit, exchange rate and inflation.
“Trade policy formulation is not within the remit of the CBN. It is an inter-ministerial responsibility involving the Finance, Budget and Planning, Industry, Trade and Investment Ministries,” he said.
He noted that the fiscal policy document clearly outlined import and export prohibition lists while the tariff book defined the various tariff measures applicable across sectors and range of products with relevant Harmonised System (HS) codes.
He said that the private sector would like to see minimum policy shocks as the President Buhari administration stepped into the next level.