THE nation’s ailing and moribund textile, mining and agro-based industries will soon be revived to reduce unemployment, it has been learnt.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who gave this indication yesterday, said he had ordered “some immediate interventions” to address challenges faced by industrialists.
He spoke when a delegation of foreign investors visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the creation of more jobs for youths was the key objective of his administration’s economic agenda.
This, he said, would be pursued with the greatest possible dedication.
He said: “I still recall with clarity that at some point, the textile industry in Nigeria was employing about 320,000 Nigerians. But today, the same industry employs less than 30,000 people and the factories operate below capacity or they are completely closed.
“I have made a promise to Nigerians that jobs will be created as part of efforts to revive the economy and that promise will be fulfilled. We will move as fast as we can to resuscitate the textile and mining industries, and also improve production in our agricultural sector.
“Now that we are trying to create jobs, we cannot allow industries and factories to close down. Instead, we should be making every effort to ensure that we reopen the closed ones and attract new ones to reduce unemployment,” Buhari told the investors who are the proprietors of Olam Farms Nigeria Limited.
He assured the delegation, which was led by Mr. Mukul Mathur, that his administration would encourage investments in agriculture and other sectors of the economy by creating a more favourable environment and enabling laws.
The president said he ordered the interventions to address challenges faced by industrialists after being briefed by Mministries of Agriculture and Industries, Trade and Investment.
“We will move very quickly to see what we can do to help you and other investors in the country so that you can help us to create jobs for our people,” the president told Mathur and his team.
Mathur told the president that Olam Group of Companies was established in Nigeria in 1989 and employs about half a million Nigerians, directly and indirectly.
He, however, said the group was facing difficulties with the reversal of some government policies in 2010 and 2013, which could lead to the closure of some of its industries in the country.a