The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has said it will partner with the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the government and the private sector to revive the collapsed ginneries located in northwestern Nigeria.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of NASENI’s skill acquisition training and youth empowerment with the theme “Modern method of tailoring and fashion design and applications” on Monday, October 31, 2022, in Daura, Katsina State, the executive vice chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, lamented Nigeria’s outsourcing of her tailoring and garment-making needs to Senegal, Mauritania, Côte d’Ivoire and even the United Arab Emirates, due to non-utilisation of appropriate new and emerging tools in the country.
Haruna affirmed that NASENI, under the chairmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari, will not allow further loss of gainful employment of Nigerians in this regard.
“NASENI is willing to collaborate with SMEs, governments and individuals to revive the collapsed ginneries, particularly of Gusau, Funtua, Zaria, Sokoto etc., where I had previous experiences as a service provider for factories and other facility maintenance in this industry’s glory years.
“The agency can jointly invest and/or have a stake in a profit-sharing format to revive textile manufacturing in this region,” he said.
Explaining further on the training of 100 women and youths’ empowerment on modern tailoring, he said the programme is the third phase of skill development in the region which the agency is embarking on as part of the implementation of President Buhari’s directives to ensure the development of skills for the teeming youths necessary for job creation and self-employment generation.
The NASENI boss stressed that tailoring and fashion design as a vocation in Katsina State have evolved over time and are still doing so because it is a peculiar subsector which finds relevance in meeting the people’s cultural needs and is closely knitted with daily human affairs and tradition.
He added that there is an unquenchable taste for fashion and ostentatious outings and it has distinct segments for men and women when compared to other trades and skills already acquired by Nigerian youths, tailoring and fashion design vocation is among the top earning and profitable occupation.
Haruna noted the missing link which has been essential in the application of modern tools, techniques, creativity and capacity to deploy modern design techniques and the use of advanced sewing machines and other working tools for growth and expansion.
Also, the NASENI boss pointed out the importance of fashion which he described as “lucrative and volatile but constantly changing over time”, thus requiring upgrading and knowledge to meet up with the modern patterns.
“This training, therefore, targets the improvement of hands-on experience of tailors and design professionals in Katsina, with advanced training tools such as motorized, straight sewing machines, computerised embroidery, weaving machines, pattern design and steam pressing among many more occupational resources required to undertake all kinds of simple and advanced cloths design and home fabrics to satisfy tastes, customers and attracts patronage.
“The 100 trainees in this exercise were carefully selected from those already in the field of fashion, tailoring, design and garment services who have been earning their living through this profession. They are expected to learn and train others. It is, therefore, a train-the-trainer exercise.
“The start-up equipment to be distributed to participants at the end of this training are adequate to carry out multifunctional services and compete favourably with the foreign service providers,” he said.
Earlier, the Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, recalled the relationship between the state and the agency. He said the state government availed the agency 20 hectares of land to build an institute for vocational and skill acquisitions in the state.
Masari, who spoke through the State Commissioner for Land and Planning, Usman Nadada, also handed over the Certificate of Occupancy to NASENI and assured the agency of the state’s continued collaboration in developing and building the capacity of the youths and women in the state.
He urged the beneficiaries to desist from selling the modern tailoring facilities given to them but make use of them to enhance their businesses and be self-employed.
Earlier in his remarks, the member, House of Representatives, representing Zango/Baure Federal Constituency, Nasiru Daura, thanked NASENI for the five-day training and issuance of start-up parks to the beneficiaries. He said the government alone cannot solve the problem of unemployment in the country and went ahead to call for a holistic approach to providing a job for youths and women.
This, he said, made him also provide chairs, blocks of classrooms, boreholes and skill acquisition centres in his constituency, as well created employment opportunities for over 250 youths in various government establishments.
In his vote of thanks, one of the beneficiaries, Jamilu Lawal, who has been a tailor for over 12 years and has about 75 youths and women learning from him, thanked NASENI and President Buhari for providing the modern machines which he longed to have (a while back) but could not, due to financial constraints. He said the new machines would make his work more efficient and make it easier to employ more persons.