Paul Maduakor, Haggai CEO, an indigenous textile manufacturer based in Lagos has appreciated the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele’s effort in revamping the Cotton, Garment and Textile (CGT) sector through inauguration of the Textile Revival and Implementation Committee (TRIC).
Haggai Sports Wear is the off – shoot of zenith sports limited. The brain child of Maduakor, whose passion for high quality sportswear delved into the birth of Haggai in 2015, having being involved in importing foreign sports equipment and kits with zenith sports for over 15 years.
Haggai sportswear in less than 4 years has become not only a house hold name in Nigeria but a brand that is synonymous with quality and creativity and can confidently boast of kitting over 30 football clubs and still counting in almost every level of league in Nigeria. Its presence is felt in NPFL
In an exclusive chat with Theresa Moses, the Haggai CEO also speaks on how corruption and other issues affected the once driving textile industry, what President Buhari led administration has to do to assist manufacturers and more. Excerpt…
In the past 20 years, the textile industry had been in comatose and CBN promised to do everything possible with other stakeholders to revive it and reclaim the lost glory of the nation. As an indigenous manufacturer what’s your take?
It’s a very good one from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and what they are trying to do is good enough for reviving the textile industry but we also need the president to support the CBN because the CBN is an arm of government. The presidential intervention will go a long way. I believe it’s a step in the right direction and it’s the only opportunity for the textile industry to break forth. There has to be a synergy between the indigenous manufacturer and other group just to ensure that the money is actually given to those who need it.
As an indigenous manufacturer what went wrong with the textile industry?
From my independent investigation, I think corruption is the bane of the fall. When the government tries reviving the sector, the money gets into the wrong hands and if you are not an industrialist, you stand to achieve nothing because indirectly, you’re not doing what you like but for the benefit you think you see around it. The major problem of the textile industry is first and foremost corruption. When you have access to free money and you don’t know what to do with it. Some gets the money and puts it the banks because it’s in volume and it has affected the industry. Another issue is importing competing products which is very wrong. If the government cannot come up with a blue print the CBN cannot do it alone. If you want to grow, you work with competing brands to improve yours, initiate ideas and grow yourself; there’s no way you will fail. As an industrialist keep improving on yourself but if you don’t have the machinery to work how do you improve yourself or even grow.
What has been the major challenges facing the textile industry?
A whole lot especially low cotton production, poor infrastructure such as power and transportation, smuggling and dumping of textile materials and poor access to finance. Counterfeiting, inadequate local patronage, high cost of production and multiple taxation are other challenges that have been facing the sector. Emefiele promised to continue to provide leadership, power hubs to CTG companies and create cotton production nationwide. He also pledged to work with relevant stakeholders to eradicate smuggling of textile materials to the country. According to him the bank had engaged 100,000 cotton farmers to cultivate 100,000 hectares of cotton for the 2019 season. My advice to CBN is that they should take every process in the sector seriously without missing any step, otherwise, failure would be recorded. I want to use this medium to appeal to all stakeholders to support this initiative to reclaim our country and everybody must play a role.
How competitive are Nigerian textile products to foreign ones and how can we discourage dumping of inferior products?
The truth is Nigeria is not competing in the textile industry. We need a lot of orientation and enlightenment regards to funds, how to disburse them and more. As a Nigerian and a businessman, I feel concern, how do you feel when you go to Kano, foreigners have dominated our markets, selling smuggling textile materials and making a lot of money.