The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, briefed State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He was with the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.
The new policy, he said, is to harness the leather resources in the country in order to export finished leather products out of the country.
Noting that leather products have imparts in every area of a Nigerian life, he said that it was not in favour of Nigeria to export semi-finished leather products.
He said “National leather products policy will enable government attract more investment into the sector. We would now harness our leather resources 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.
“This 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 we can create more jobs and a lot of wealths. 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.” he said
As far as light leather is concerned, he disclosed that Nigeria is number two in Africa and number 8 in terms of exporting leather in the world.
He said “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. President Buhari is very much interest in sense ring that those who want to work can work.
“In terms of contributions, leather contributes almost $921m to our economy, as at 2013. There was a time leather was number three in terms of contributions from the non- oil sector. We believe that leather will help us achieve much to the economy.” he said
On health hazards associated with processing, he said “This is exactly why you have the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and we have the Leather Research Institute in Zaria.
“This institute is conducting research in the various segments. This is the only organization permitted to offer higher train in leather industry. You use certain chemicals you have to find away to treat before you can discharge them into any water source.
“A percentage will be in what is environmentally acceptable. They are working on that at the moment. We are very much aware of that because we have ternaries at the moment. We want to make that our people are safe.” he said
Responding to question on the threat of the Shiites protests in the FCT, Lai Mohammed said “This came up for discussion, the Hon. Minister of FCT was asked to take up the matter with his own security committee.” SHARE THIS STORY USING ANY OF THE BUTTON BELOW ⬇ PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW ⬇⬇⬇