4 months ago

History

 

 

Topic: 

History of Nigeria’s textile industry – beginning stages & its collapse: (seeking to know more comprehensively, where we started from, and why the industry failed). 

 

History is important… and in searching out facts for today’s lesson, I came across this quote that I absolutely love by Winston Churchill, and it says,

 

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” 

 

Isn’t that brilliant? I think it is, but I could be biased; you see, I can’t say that I’ve ever been a fan of history class, and that includes Art history! So naturally I gravitated to that quote because I thought, hmm, maybe instead of writing about “history”, I could just re-write it to what it ought to be!!! But on second thought, I realized that for the benefit of others, perhaps we should just dab a bit into where it all began.

 

Getting down to business:

*There’s a lot of information on our history online and so I’ll just give snippets because our focus isn’t on what we already know, it’s majorly on what we hope to learn from, either mistakes or triumphs, and also to make better choices going forward. I would encourage you to look up at your convenience areas in our history that you need more clarity on. 

 

So, we know that in 1955, the very first industrial textile factory was built in Kaduna State by the collaborative efforts of a British textile company, and the Nigerian government, and by 1957 production commenced. It’s also good to note that in the 70’s, multiple textile factories had opened-up not just in Kaduna state but also in other parts of the nation. We also gathered that in the 80’s, our textile industry was the 3rd largest producer in Africa with South Africa and Egypt leading the pack. Things started to go a bit downhill in the 90’s when by 1997 we saw that a good number of top performing factories started to produce way below full capacity and the numbers only got worse from there. By 2007 a large percentage of factories had completely been shut down. Based on figures collected, our highest number of factories whilst in our booming years was roughly over 150 throughout the nation, but sadly, that figure sits below 40 today.

 

Now that we’ve covered the brief narrative of where we began and the highlights along the way, let’s focus our attention on why the industry began to dwindle, and continued to do so, with seemingly no resolve.

  • Power outages – I know that this is a major problem in the nation, but there are other industries out there that are still thriving despite the same conditions that the textile industry had to face in regards to power. When I say industries that are thriving, I mean for instance the restaurant business; they NEED a daily supply of power in order to serve their customers and we all know that we’re not in lack of excellent catering services across the nation (granted I’m sure they too would advocate that their monies be spent on other areas of growth versus diesel consumption). So why then did we place emphasis on power outage as being a major factor in our decline? In my opinion, I believe our sector requires constant power supply for almost every tier of production. With this problem at hand, we see another major issue that halted progress in our industry that only made matters worse.

 

  • Higher production costs – There’s simply no way to maintain your price points at any level to the customers when your production costs have skyrocketed. Production costs will obviously be affected when the conditions in which your business is situated aren’t stable nor favorable especially when we consider the fact that raw materials like dyes, spare parts and chemicals were also imported. Speaking of imported goods…

 

  • Importation – It is clear that things really took a dive for the worse when policies adopted allowed for the almost, what I call, “free flow” of textiles from predominantly Asian nations, and also Europe. When the government felt they needed to crack down on this overflow, they banned the importation of various textiles, but of course everyone knew that the majority of fabrics sold in our markets were more than likely not made in Nigeria. The ban some say made smuggling of fabrics the way of life. Today we know that the present administration has lifted these bans – good or bad?

 

  • Quality – when a system has not been updated, it is obvious that there will be failures and set-backs! In our case, the industry continued to spiral out of control when required updates to technological advancements were not attended to. I am not placing blame on anyone; with what we’ve seen from our points above, the price of acquiring necessary upgrades probably were overridden by the daily demands of running the business and of course the up-keep of the workers, among other things. Because of this, I truly believe that when imported goods began to flood our markets, most factories that were still in existence could not out-perform their foreign competitors. We know that these nations that we patronize have invested heavily in their manufacturing sectors; a lot more than we’re probably willing to invest in as a nation.

 

  • Low patronage – we can not blame the society for not patronizing our Nigerian made fabrics because like we’ve stated above, these factories aren’t dealing with the same harsh conditions as their competitors and therefore it is very understandable that their products aren’t comparable. Even when you’ve got a fabric of equal quality, be rest assured that the price tag of the Nigerian made will be slightly higher.

 

  • Lack of Technical Institutions – the younger generation in my opinion will only read about the days of textile sciences being taught in our higher institutions… that can be changed, but are we willing to work hard in developing this area. I’m sure I’ll be addressing this at a later post.

** of course there are other factors but I believe these cover the major issues. 

 

What I think I can learn from our industry’s history and collapse lies in our understanding of purpose or its reason for existence. It is clear that when the industry began, the vision or intent was not clearly stated; in my opinion, it was merely a thing to be done. I strongly believe that if we understand why we need to bring about a rebirth of this industry, we will strive to develop ourselves, improve upon what we already know, educate the younger generation, implement creative ways of engaging the people on the benefits of standing by “us” and so much more. Knowing why we ought to exist and thrive is so vitally important.

L.o.Z

4 months ago

Restoration 101 – “It’s not about me,...

 

We’re the only one’s who have the power to forge ahead & fulfill our God-given dreams. We can choose to move forward and learn from a bad situation or we can decide to complain and do nothing positive… I’m glad you’re joining me on this quest to becoming all we were created/gifted to become – not for our selfish gains, but for the freedom and uplifting of all.

The way I see it, this journey ahead of us ought to be enjoyed! It doesn’t mean it will be free of obstacles, but in those trying times, hopefully our anchor would have been set so deep that there’s no way we’re turning our backs to return from whence we came. So here’s to learning and growing, together! Cheers!

 

Restoration 101: Moving forward from where we are & knowing what it takes to get through this stage successfully. 

OUTLINE: SESSION 1 ON RESTORATION. 

What will be accomplished in this session:

1.Gaining relevant skills/knowledge in restoring the Nigerian Textile industry:

a. History of Nigeria’s textile industry’s beginning stages & its collapse: (seeking to know more comprehensively, where we started from, and why the industry failed).

b. What is the industry lacking today? (areas of our weaknesses).

c. Requirements in setting the industry up for greatness: (how do we turn our weaknesses to strengths).

d. The public’s opinion of our industry; (an in-depth look in understanding the general perception of the people towards the goods and services of this industry, and how to make sure we create trust in the people through the value we offer).

e. Open discussion on any other areas not covered.

 

2. Seeking partnerships with global industry experts.

a. Mentorship/advisers (interacting and engaging with industry experts on a way forward).

b. First-hand look at what makes this industry in other nations thrive (understanding the factors that contribute to the success of cotton farming, weaving, printing, etc the whole gamut).

c. Building strong collaborations with entities and people in the industry (what memberships will be needed to further a better understanding of the global industry; building a solid network).

 

3. Acquiring/implementing innovative methods that will foster an organic and solid growth in the Nigerian Textile industry.

a. Technology – (what’s new? what should we be focusing on? Long & short-term acquisitions).

b. Hands-on training (what courses are out there in understanding the new printing technologies, or weaving skills etc).

c. Writing the business proposal (utilizing what’s been learnt to carve a blueprint that can be duplicated across the nation).

L.o.Z

5 months ago

It always seems impossible until it’s done –...

 

That quote by Nelson Mandela is so apt for what we’re about to walk into; I believe it isn’t going to be an easy ride towards attaining the greatness of the textile industry in Nigeria, but it is possible. My last post, “From Vision to Mission” I spoke about how we needed to tackle the weight of this project step by step. Now we’re going to look at a way forward with our first step, that is, RESTORATION. We should remind ourselves of what our first mission statement says,

 

We will restore the textile industry in Nigeria to a thriving sector by gaining relevant skills, partnering with industry experts and acquiring/implementing innovative methods that will foster an organic and solid growth. 

 

Rebuilding an entire textile industry will take more than we can acquire in a day, or even a year.

So what I want you to see with this “proposal” is to look at it from a viewpoint of the both of us going through a learning process – I most definitely do not have ALL the answers, but I’m willing to search them out. A process that some might not be burdened to carry through the long-haul, but that’s what makes this journey even more adventurous.

There’s this story in the Bible about a young man who didn’t think he was capable of what God had told him he could accomplish, but guess what, when he probably felt a bit confident in the strength of his army (about 32,000 men), he soon realizes that his God isn’t about the numbers; at the end of the day, the victory came through a few men (300).

If we look at this and assume we need a mighty legion of supporters on our side, we’ll never move forward, but when we realize that it takes us growing in what we’ve been called to do, we’ll win. And the victory will be super sweet because it would have been against all odds.

The plan ahead is to embark on a strategic learning process.

L.o.Z

5 months ago

From Vision to Mission

 

Ok, lets reiterate “our” vision;

To restore, advance, master and sustain the ethical growth and development of every facet of the Textile industry in Nigeria that stands uncompromised in integrity to its workforce, consumers and environment (our land, water & air). 

 

From my understanding, a vision statement simply sums up what the desired goals are or states what is to be achieved.

 

Now let’s tackle what our mission statement is.

Our mission statement is a guide for today – how we hope to achieve our Vision!

 

So, here we go;

 

We will restore the textile industry in Nigeria to a thriving sector by gaining relevant skills, partnering with industry experts and acquiring/implementing innovative methods that will foster an organic and solid growth.

 

We will  advance the textile industry in Nigeria by being vocal about what needs to be done and following through with resolutions step by step.

 

We will become masters in the textile industry of Nigeria by remaining consistently proactive to learn, grow and develop every aspect of our industry and its people. 

 

We will sustain the growth of the textile industry in Nigeria by ensuring that our workers and consumers are treated honestly and with respect and also by challenging our capabilities in seeking creativity within our people and by ensuring that our environment is highly protected against any forms of pollutants. 

 

Seems like quite a task ahead of us, but we are well able! If we break each step further, I think you’ll see that it’s not that heavy at the end of the day; just takes persistence in following through step by step.

My desire is that you’ll be pulled-in to either want to act in your own way towards the calling or industry in your heart, or you’ll have valuable input into what I’m doing and want to be part of it.

My goal is that as I grow in my knowledge of what needs to be done, that you’ll also grow and apply this in your own journey towards making Nigeria a better/stronger nation and whether that means you’ll tackle the health care system or you’ll be in the textile industry is not the issue; just be about the work you’ve been called to do, that’s all.

L.o.Z

5 months ago

Having a Plan – Vision cont.

 

 

Vision part B: sharing a vision is a beautiful thing, but how do we take that vision from the people’s heads to their hearts; where it will stick, and be nurtured and worked upon diligently?

I’m pretty sure that most people are willing to believe in the greatness of Nigeria but are clouded by their own personal and immediate needs, which is very understandable. I also know that to speak of lofty ideas to come isn’t going to motivate people who are truly experiencing very trying times right now. What I propose is that we start with a prototype – taking this process step by step; we implement a concise and structured format that’s derived from highly knowledgeable industry experts from around the world and follow through the process diligently like a scientist in a lab! Once we’ve gotten the ideal outcome that we’re striving for, we duplicate it.

We work our way progressively through each tier of the textile industry and work on ensuring we can replicate the exact processes needed, from the spinning and weaving mills, to the printing and dying factories. So let’s say for instance we start with one farmland to create our first cotton farm prototype. Once we’re able to harvest to our standard of excellence (which will be following a global standard), we then focus our attention on ensuring that we get the next step right; the process invovled in spinning cotton and again, our attention is given to make sure that we’re utilizing advanced equipments in deriving the quality that’s needed in this phase. Of course then we move onto the next step of weaving and again we figure out what works excellently best that can be replicated around the country, and once we’ve solved that, we advance to the next stage and the next, until we’ve completed the entire ecosystem of textile production and distribution.

In my opinion, if we’re able to show the people what we’ve been able to do with one model, I strongly believe that other stake-holders will want to be part of this and see to the growth of the industry together.

That of course sounds so easy, but why not? it makes pefect sense to me…

L.o.Z

5 months ago

Having a Plan – Vision

 

I believe it was Dr. Myles Munroe who said ” When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable” – the very fact that we as a people are where we are today, and speaking of the textile industry in particular, is in my opinion, a combination of multiple things but, I think it starts with the fact that we didn’t and still don’t realize what we have (natural resources, etc) and because of this, we did not value it, nor did we understand its purpose, therefore, we abused it.

So what’s the way forward?

For me it starts with analysing what we have right now, figuring out what needs to be done to improve what we have, embarking on a strategic plan that excludes being held captive by the constant changing government policies that may or may not favor us, and working hard to ensure that the vision is realized in integrity of hearts and with a full understanding of our purpose. Just to touch on purpose a bit; we might be the ones to lay the ground work, but we may not be the ones who’ll fully see the harvest of our works, and we need to realize that that is perfectly OK. A lot of times we want returns on our investments, immediately! How about we focus on the generations to come who will thank heavens that we cared about them. Right now, it’s all about rebuilding our land and deciding that we aren’t going to be part of those who are abusing our nation and its people anymore.

A plan! A roadmap! A blueprint! … 

My plan is simple: (naturally there is A LOT that can be said on each point that I will present, but that’s where I give you the opportunity to add to it and lets get cracking together – team work) So basically, don’t look at this as the master plan; it needs more minds to make it perfectly fit. Ok enough ramblings, lets start from somewhere;

 

Vision: what do I see? I have this ambitious vision of what the textile industry could look like, and what the effects of having a thriving textile industry would do for the communities. My vision of this thriving industry does not take its cue from any previous models that exist in the industry worldwide that entail insensible work ethics of factory workers chugging long hours, the use of child labor, pollutions, etc.

On the other hand, I see the Nigerian textile workers as people who are treated with the utmost respect, they are valued, they are hardworking, they are well compensated, they are creative, they are inventive, they are passionate about their land and have a great understanding of the effects of chemicals on our land and will not stand for any form of pollution. I see States in Nigeria that are excellent for cotton farming excelling with technologically advanced machinery that makes their work-load a lot lighter and more productive. I see our cotton farmers taking pride in their farms and churning out the BEST cotton we could possibly derive from our land. I see an industry where there is authenticity in every tier of the textile industry’s ecosystem. I see an industry that brings about the re-birth of the need for more technical schools throughout the nation. I see our industry excelling because we care more about our future, we care about our people, we care more for the natural resources we’ve been blessed with and we care a lot more for integrity and honesty above living the norms of mediocrity and corruption.

 

In a nutshell, the vision simply states;

 

To restore, advance, master and sustain the ethical growth and development of every facet of the Textile industry in Nigeria that stands uncompromised in integrity to its workforce, consumers and environment (our land, water & air).

 

I truly believe that this vision must be shared with others who care about this industry but may have given up hope in its revival. Let the word spread that we want to tackle this one step at a time; no one is in a rush, we are ready to take our time and work on laying the right foundations. When a vision is shared, it’s up to everyone involved to receive it, believe it and work towards actualizing it. This can’t happen if people’s mindsets are blocked to the possibilities that are being presented.

How to tackle mindsets?? hmmm… lets make that our next post (part B of Vision I guess) Stay tuned…

L.o.Z

5 months ago

Why is the Nigerian Textile Industry lagging behind

 

I’ll tell you what happened with the Nigerian Textile Industry, and please, I don’t do ginormous grammar, so forgive my simplicity, because this is the way I understand it.

From the little street knowledge of the former state of the Nigerian Textile Industry, we’ve heard or read about how the industry hired at its prime, conservatively about 300,000 people. That’s massive! Especially because our past “glory days” wasn’t truly even our fullest possibilities or potential.

Between the 1970’s and 80’s, the industry was truly note worthy. That started to dwindle in the 90’s and has since then been almost nonexistent in the 2000’s.

The main factors that I’ve gathered that caused the decline in the industry are namely;

  • OIL!!! Basically attention was given to this new baby to the detriment of the other industry.
  • POWER! We could go on and on about how we don’t have consistent power supply throughout the country and that is a huge problem.
  • CORRUPTION!!! We can’t talk about power and not follow that with the way our dear country has suffered in the hands of extremely vision-less, greedy, dishonest, unlawful, (I could go on & on) so-called leaders for almost forever and we the people just watched them ruin our land and future, well until now right? I think we’re on a better track.
  • “CHINA MADE” = BETTER MADE (mindset of people) = LOWER PRICE!   “China” (I speak not necessarily of the country and citizenry, plus, it encompasses other nations). We turned to “China” made goods and the policies in place helped to booster this new love with imported goods. Can we speak honestly (as we already are)? A good chunk of imported goods that are brought into the Nigerian market are so below standard that one wonders why we don’t even love ourselves enough to buy better quality from outside; for the public that is.
  • INSECURITY (relatively new problem, but still a major problem!) If you ask me, and thank you for asking, the main reason why we even have Nigerians WILLING to kill themselves and their fellow citizens, in my view, is because we and the leaders didn’t have a vision for northern Nigeria when we took away a huge chunk of their livelihood and left them vulnerable; the textile industry was synonymous with the north.
  • LACK OF SKILLED (TECHNICAL SAVVY) WORKERS! No one can blame the younger generation in not paying attention to the area of our textile industry because seriously speaking, are these courses being taught anymore?

I’m sure there are other things that contributed to where we’re at in this industry today, so please feel free to share.

L.o.Z