Nigeria rated as one of the highest producers of leather and finished leather products in Africa has the potential of generating a projected revenue of $1 billion by 2025, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has said.
The industry could become a game-changer for Nigeria’s economy, according to Osinbajo.
He spoke in Abuja at the launch of the National Leather and Leather Products Policy Implementation Plan.
The Vice-President was optimistic that it will also improve the country’s foreign exchange earnings, boost growth and provide employment for young Nigerians.
He referred to a study carried out by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), which projected that the Nigerian leather industry has the potential of not only increasing its earnings by 70 percent but also generating over $1 billion by 2025.
“There is no question that properly organized, the leather and leather products industry could become one of the major items in Nigeria’s export basket.
‘‘The leather value chain is extensive. It includes animal husbandry, tanneries, finished leather products, and leather products marketing.
“The leather and leather products industry currently employs over 750,000 workers with about 500,000 workers in the finished leather goods sector.
“About 11 leather exporting companies have been active at the upstream end of the leather value chain.
“Also, the export of leather has grown steadily, reaching a peak of $117 million in 2018. Exports fell in 2020 largely due to the pandemic, but to date, are in the order of $272m,” Prof. Osinbajo said.
He said the country was yet to maximize its potential in the sector despite exporting millions of semi-finished and finished leather products to destinations including Italy, Spain, India, South Asia and China.
With the launch of the policy implementation plan, the VP noted that government now has ‘‘a real opportunity to address specific challenges and shortcomings of the leather sector with pragmatic strategies to permanently resolve these issues for optimal productivity.”
Describing the plan as all-encompassing, Osinbajo noted that relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and the organized private sector are assigned specific responsibilities for its various objectives and strategies.
The Plan covers eight thematic areas, including intellectual property rights, governance, E-leather, environmental and social best practices, marketing, funding, critical infrastructure, and research and development.