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FG targets $900m from leather industry

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…As Buhari directs FCT minister to checkmate Shiites menace

Federal Government has resolved to strengthen its policy around hides and skin, with a view to attracting more revenues and job opportunities.

The decision was a fall-out of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Wednesday.

Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu who threw more light on the policy, said the leather industry generated $921million for the government in 2013, a development that can be replicated if well harnessed.

He noted that Nigeria’s leather industry is rated second in Africa and eight position in export globally, adding that such potentials would create leverage for harnessing the livestock sector efficiently.

His words, “we resolved to harness the national leather and bye products policy that will enable government attract more investment into the sector.

“We would do this in a manner that will allow us make more gains instead of exporting raw leather or semi-finished products. We want to prepare our nation so that we can process our leather and use the leather in production of finished leather products.

“We have come to realize that it has application in almost every sector of our economic life, including footwear, apparels and automobile industry. There is hardly any machine that you will open without finding leather component. This is the only way we can create more jobs and a lot of wealth. We would be in a position to fight poverty.

“In any country, they always start with textiles and then leather. Here we have comparative advantage because our Labour cost is low. As far as light leather is concerned, we are number two in Africa and number 8 in terms of exporting leather in the world.

“If we harness the leather we have in Nigeria and that we processed our hides and skins, we will be creating a lot of jobs and wealth because of the small scale enterprises that will spring up. You will now be having new business springing up”.

Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said FEC deliberated on the civil disturbance by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria IMN, otherwise referred to as Shittes.

He said the President directed the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello to address the issue deploying security measures at his discretion.

“Yes the matter came up for discussion in FEC, the Hon. Minister of FCT was asked to take up the matter with his own security committee,” he stated.

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