By Bello Hamza, Abuja
Stakeholders have reiterated their commitment to boost growth of the leather industry, which they noted occupies a strategic position in the country’s economy.
Speaking at the Edo Leather business to business summit and fair holding from 12TH-13th September, 2023, the chairman, national steering committee on strategic implementation plan of
leather and leather products policy in Nigeria, Prof M. K. Yakubu said that Nigeria represents the largest economy in Africa with equally huge market given its population size of over 200 million.
According to him, leather sector occupies a very strategic position in the development of its economy on account of its substantial export earnings potential for creation of employment opportunities and favourable conditions for its sustained growth.
He said Nigeria has huge Livestock population with associated high potential in the Leather Industry. Adding that the information on total production and consumption levels in Nigeria vary significantly depending on the source, the Livestock sector remains a major component of the agricultural economy and plays a significant role in the overall national economy. It accounts for about 2 – 5% of the National GDP and 10% of the Agricultural GDP.
“It is pertinent however to state that as important as Leather Industry is to our national economy, it has been bedeviled with challenges leading to its declining contribution to National GDP. One of the major challenges was the long absence of a sector-specific Policy. Thanks be to God, we now have a Leather Policy and its Implementation Plan in Nigeria.
“These feats wouldn’t have been possible but for the collective and collaborative efforts of all the stakeholders involved in the leather sector.
“Permit me to use this opportunity to announce the formal registration of the first ever amalgamated leather Association in Nigeria, an umbrella Association for all leather actors in Nigeria, irrespective of your position in the Leather Value Chain (LVC), the National Association of Leather and Leather Products of Nigeria (NALPAN) on 21st July 2023.
“This is another milestone achievement in the implementation of the leather policy. NALPAN is constituted to foster collaboration among the tanners, animal husbandrists, abattoir operators, finished leather products manufacturers and allied products producers.
“I will like to bid all stakeholders to register directly or through their various sub-association with NALPAN. NALPAN, being an umbrella Association for all leather affiliates will protect the interest of its members, resolve conflicts of interest among members and other associations, ensure standards and strict adherence to regulations, facilitate certification of enterprises to minimise quackery, facilitate access to funds and other linkages, promote advocacy and publicity, facilitate patency and protect intellectual property right, ensure that appropriate channels are followed on import and export of inputs and products, encourage creativity and innovation to promote competitiveness as well as meet the insatiable demands of consumers, and any other benefits as will be stated in its constitution,” he stated.
Yakubu however, noted that Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), the only Government owned Leather Institution in Nigeria, established in 1964 will continue to play its leadership role in driving the implementation of the National Leather and Leather Products Policy.
He said , “I am pleased to announce that NILEST has made some modest remarkable achievements in the implementation of this Leather Policy by establishing Nine (9) Extension Centres across the six (6) geo-political zones of Nigeria. In the South South, we have a Centre in Afuze, Owan-East Local Government Area, Edo State to extend the services of the Headquarters in Zaria to Leather Value Chain Actors and general populace in Edo State and South South geo-political zone of Nigeria.
“As part of implementation of the Leather Policy, NILEST is championing this campaign to promote patronage of “Made in Nigeria” leather products. I therefore bid all Leather stakeholders and practitioners to join this campaign to ensure the survival of MSMEs and Nigeria’s economy.
” It is time we look inward and limit over dependence on foreign products. All leather practitioners, craftsmen and artisans needs to build up their capacity and adhere to standards to guarantee quality of their products.”