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By Princewill Ekwujuru
The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said that the leather industry could generate $1bilion for Nigeria by 2025.
The Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Mr Segun Awolowo, who disclosed this at the virtual summit with the theme: “Towards a Sustainable Leather Processing Industry in Nigeria: Kano Tannery, the Powerhouse” said, the footwear industry consumed 54 per cent of leather products globally and contributed about 25 per cent of agriculture’s gross domestic product, GDP.
The summit which saw other stakeholders in the leather industry advocates a strategic partnership between Lagos and Kano States to maximally harness the potentials of the sector and improve its contribution to the nation’s GDP.
The Senior Special Assistant on Lagos Affairs to the Kano State Governor, Mr Anthony Oneya, said the partnership between both states will forge a way forward to expand local trade by bringing together value addition ideas and investments.
“The partnership between Lagos and Kano is long overdue and this will help grow the sector to the level it ought to be,” he said.
Oneya urged governments to support the improvement in the value of leather goods for both domestic use and exports through the provision of 21st-century technology.
He said an improved tanning industry for leather will improve exports and give the sector the needed boost. Twenty-two of the 36 Tanneries in Nigeria are in Kano, he added.
Mr Lawan Sule-Garo, Chairman, Tanners Council of Nigeria, in his remarks, appealed for intervention funds from the government to revive the sector and create jobs.
Sule-Garo also appealed to governments to grant incentives to wholesalers to bridge the financial gap and give priority to the local tanning industry.
On the consumption of cowhides, popularly known as ‘Ponmo’, which could be used for leather production, the Tanner Council Chairman said “We can continue to get leather from other animals apart from cow. We must not deter people from consuming Ponmo because we want to sell leather.”
President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje advocated a holistic approach to developing the leather value chain for a long term growth strategy.