Garment makers reap benefits of falling Naira
The fall in the value of the Naira may have turned out to be a fortune for the garment and tailoring industry in the country. Reason: The development has shot up the prices of ready-made imported attires above the reach of an average Nigerian and as such, people now resort to buying materials and taking them to tailors to sew.
Some garment makers in Lagos, who spoke to The Guardian, said there is actually an upsurge in the demand for their services especially from the womenfolk.
According to them, the trend has also stimulated demand in raw fabrics, which is cheaper to buy and taken to tailors to sew.
Also confirming the upsurge in raw fabrics and demand for tailoring services, the Managing Director of a Lagos-based garment making firm, Edobor Irabor, said that it is cheaper now to buy fabrics and taken to a tailor to sew for you.
According to him, imported garments are costlier to buy in the country now because they are finished products to which have been added the cost of the material itself, the cost of sewing, transportation and cost of clearing at the port. When you add all the above expenses the price will become too high when converted to the Naira, using the current black market exchange rate.
He said people prefer to buy the raw fabric and sew it locally to minimize cost.
Irabor advised the government to take advantage of the development to encourage textile manufacturers in the country to go back to operations so as to produce fabrics to meet the emerging surging demand.
He said the fabrics that can easily be manufacture at short notice this time is polyester which, with the latest technology, can be mass produced with discarded plastic bottle water and empty pure water sachets that abound in the country.
Mr. A. Ugwoeruchwuk of Woolen and Synthetic Textile Manufacturing Limited, Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, said the stock of fabrics available in the country now that people are buying will soon be exhausted as no new stock is being supplied to replenish the existing one.
“Very soon, the existing stock would be bought up. There are no enough textile mills in the country to produce more. The existing stock of our raw materials was imported when the exchange rate to the dollar was not much. Now, the exchange rate is so high that if our existing stock is finished, there is no way for us to import new stock at affordable price because the exchange rate is so high now. So, the prevailing acute demand for fabrics is going to be temporary because very soon the stock of fabrics in the country would be exhausted and there will be no way to replenish.”
Mr. H. A. Kwajaffa, Director General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association &Nigerian Textile, Garment and Tailoring Employers Association, said it is true that the garment makers are experiencing demand for their services since the Naira starting falling in value against the Dollar. But he added that the fact remains that the textile firms in the country that could have been supplying the fabrics for people to buy are not functioning.
“Even the few that are functional are finding it difficult to operate because of epileptic power supply and high cost of diesel. Smugglers of textiles are still having a field day at the borders. The government should do something to address the factors that hinder effective operation of textile firms in the country.”