The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said the total revenue from the nation’s leather industry now valued between $600 to $800 million annually.
Dr. Onu disclosed this at the National Leather and Leather products policy implementation plan validation workshop held in Abuja on Monday.
In a statement by the ministry, the minister said there is urgent need to implement the National Leather and Leather Product Policy, in order to boost leather production as a source of revenue for the country.
“Leather has a global market size of about $20 billion traded annually and with lots of opportunities abound’’.
He charged relevant stakeholders in the leather and leather products industry, to ensure all hands are on deck, to ensure the success of the Leather policy and in the long-run ensure Nigeria benefits from the enormous potential.
The leather Industry according to Dr. Onu, is strategic in the development of Nigeria’s economy, due to substantial export earnings and value and the enormous employment opportunities it provides.
He said Leather has the potential of successfully increasing Nigeria’s foreign earnings. He further added “To achieve this feat, there is need for value addition in Nigeria’s leather value chain in order to upgrade its position in the regional and global trade of leather communities”.
Dr. Onu tasked leather industry stakeholders to initiate visionary and creative strategies, which would fast-track Nigeria’s move from a resource based to a knowledge based and innovation driven economy. In his words, “This will help Nigeria fast-track the process that will enable it become self-reliant in indigenous technology capacity”.
Earlier in her address, the Acting Director General of Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), Dr. Eucharia Oparah, said the workshop provided opportunity for major key players to interact, cross fertilize ideas and exchange information that will contribute to the growth of leather sector in the country.,
In her own remarks, the senate committee chairman on Science and Technology, Lady Uche Ekwunife, said the workshop is very necessary in order to take the leather industries in the country to a greater height.
She further commended the Ministry and Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), for piloting the actualization of the policy and its implementation plan for the development of leather policy in Nigeria.