‘Ex­port grant killing Nige­rian leather sec­tor’

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Ibrahim Musa Giginyu, Kano

Par­tic­i­pants at the just con­cluded con­fer­ence on “Un­der­stand­ing the Im­pact of the Ex­port Ex­pan­sion Grant (EEG) on Leather In­dus­try” or­gan­ised by Growth and Em­ploy­ment in States (GEMS1) have stated that big en­ter­prises have cap­tured mar­ket share at the ex­pense of mid­size and smaller oper­a­tions in the EEG. The cap­ture, ac­cord­ing to the par­tic­i­pants, had re­sulted in the clo­sure of most tan­ner­ies in the na­tion.

This was con­tained in a com­mu­nique is­sued at the end of the con­fer­ence held in Kano. Ac­cord­ing to the com­mu­niqué, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the EEG has not been trans­par­ent and eq­ui­table as it is not avail­able on an equal ba­sis to all en­ter­prises in the leather sec­tor (tan­ning to fin­ished leather goods). This, the com­mu­niqué stressed, pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity to em­bed cor­rupt prac­tices in the EEG’s op­er­a­tion and par­tic­u­larly makes grant un­avail­able to SMEs.

It fur­ther re­vealed that un­cer­tainty of ac­cess to the grant, es­pe­cially the cur­rent sus­pen­sion, has seen raw skin prices fall as much as 50 per cent in re­cent months. The par­tic­i­pants men­tioned that fin­ished leather is only an in­ter­me­di­ate prod­uct in the leather value chain which even­tu­ally pro­duces re­tail­ready fin­ished leather goods. The quan­tum of the grant that ap­plies to fin­ished leather, the par­tic­i­pants lamented, is too high and lim­its the avail­abil­ity of fin­ished leather for fur­ther value ad­di­tion in Nige­ria.

The com­mu­nique also re­vealed that the grant has re­duced the num­ber of op­er­a­tional tan­ner­ies in Kano state from over 30 to less than 7, a sit­u­a­tion the doc­u­ment termed as the cat­a­lyst that forced lo­cal fin­ished leather goods pro­duc­ers that have the ca­pac­ity to con­sume a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of lo­cally pro­duced leather to buy semi-syn­thetic leather from Asia, with the re­sul­tant ex­por­ta­tion of jobs which could have been done in Nige­ria.

The com­mu­nique rec­om­mended a con­tin­ued ad­vo­cacy by stake­hold­ers within the leather sec­tor to en­sure a for­mal re­view of the EEG.

Leather traders in Kano

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