The Central Bank of Nigeria has approved a fresh loan of N19.18bn to nine cotton producing firms with a view to retooling their processing plants.
The apex bank has also set aside the sum of N500m to recycle old naira notes being mopped up from the Deposit Money Banks across the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the N19.18bn would be disbursed at a single-digit interest rate.
The funds, according to him, will help to sustain their operations and improve their production capacity.
He said the same support would be extended to the textile and garment firms.
He spoke on Tuesday at the signing of two memoranda of understanding held at the apex bank’s headquarters in Abuja.
The first agreement was between the National Cotton Association of Nigeria and Ginning Companies to guarantee steady off-take and processing of cotton lint and cotton seeds
The second pact was between the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association and the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Nigeria Police, paramilitary institutions and the National Youth Service Corps.
The second agreement is aimed at facilitating a contract of five years or more with textile and garment companies to manufacture uniforms in Nigeria for use by various arms of Nigeria’s uniform services.
Present at the MoU signing ceremony are the governors of Kaduna Nasir El-Rufai; Cross River, Prof Ben Ayade; Gombe,
Alhaji Muhammad Yahaya, and Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu.
The event was also attended by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and all the service chiefs and heads of para-military agencies.
Emefiele described the MoU as a giant leap towards the implementation of Executive Order 003, in which President Muhammadu Buhari directed all the FG’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies to give preference to local content in their procurement of goods and services.
The CBN governor said, “We are improving the linkage between cotton farmers and ginneries, by ensuring that ginneries are able to off-take the high-quality cotton produced by these farmers.
“In this regard, an approval to a tune of N19.18bn has been granted to finance nine ginneries with a view to retooling their processing plants, while providing them with improved access to finance at single digit interest rate.”
Emefiele also said, “If we want to take the intervention from cotton farmers to the ginneries at least those two farmers alone, we’ve spent close to N50bn.”
According to him, the amount would eventually run into over N100bn.
To effectively revive the sector, the CBN governor said the bank had constituted a Textile Revival Implementation Committee comprising the CBN, Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Water Resources; Industry, Trade and Investment; and the governments of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe and Zamfara states.
Aregbesola in his comments said the Federal Government would continue to support the local content policy to ensure its success.
The Governor of Gombe, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, said that the agreement was a confirmation that the CBN was determined to revive the CTG sector so as to reduce the level of unemployment and boost economic growth.
He described the huge amount spent on the importation of garment and textile products as a drain on the country’s foreign exchange.
Ayade in his remarks said that if the government could mandate the military and para-military agencies to patronise local textile products, then there was no excuse for Nigerians not to use locally produced fabrics.
Meanwhile, the apex bank says it has set aside N500m to recycle old naira notes being mopped up from the Deposit Money Banks across the country.
It will also use part of the funds for the recycling of other hazardous electronic materials that constitute danger to the environment.
A representative of the CBN, Aisha Mahmud, said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the strategic action plan for safe use, disposal and recycling of expired battery.
The workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme, European Union, among others.
Mahmud said the action of the CBN was geared towards making sure that activities of the financial sector did not negatively impact human health.