Leather overtakes cocoa as second biggest foreign exchange earner

The leather sector has overtaken the cocoa sector as the second biggest foreign exchange earner for the country, Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga has said. The minister  who said this at the opening ceremony of the two-day Leather Industry Revival Summit at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, also added that he  has directed the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and Industrial Training Fund(ITF) to retool the over 30 comatose tanneries across the country  to boost Nigeria’s leather industry .

He said this is necessary to increase the productivity of the sector that had managed to overtake cocoa as the biggest non-oil foreign exchange earner despite lack of adequate government support.
“The sector employs 700,000 people as direct and indirect workers in the country. The jobs and livelihood which the leather sector sustains are truly commendable from the cattle farmers, butchers, skin dealers, tanners, distributors, leather products and manufacturers to the retail shops and the international brokers, the impact is real,” he said.
Ogechukwu Omeribe, Program manager of Department of International Development encouraged the leather workers to strengthen their association to ensure that the potentials of the industry are better harnesses.
The summit organised by Leather and Allied Products Association of Nigeria (LAPAN) brought in professionals in the leather industry from cities like Kano, Lagos and Aba. It also featured a mini-documentary that documented the potentials and of the industry in relation to the neglect it had suffered over the years.

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