The Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology. (NILEST) Zaria, Prof. Muhammad Yakubu, said Nigeria’s total exports of leather products hit $800 million this year.
Yakubu stated this in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that between 2018 and 2019, the exports of Nigerian leather products were about 800 million dollars but later declined in 2020 due to COVID- 19 epidemic to $650.
“The national leather policy proposes that by the year 2025, revenue from the leather products exports will be around $1 billion,’’ Yakubu said.
According to him, by the figure, Nigeria had already crossed half of $650 million to $800 million dollars this year.
The D-G said that the total trade of the leather products was presently between $300 and $400 billion globally.
He said that out of this figure, Nigeria could account for 15 to 20 per cent to hit $20 billion by 2025.
Yakubu said, ”every week, more than 20,000 pairs of shoes and different high quality leather materials were exported to African, Asian and European countries from South- East, South- West and Northern parts of Nigeria.
“You can imagine how much we are talking about in a month or a year.’’
Yakubu, however, said the high cost of imported processing materials was responsible for the spike in the prices of most Nigerian leather products compared to the foreign ones.
“For instance, now you can get a leather of 1 square meter costing about $5.
”But, by the time you add up production costs, the cost of processing may rise to about $30.
”So, you may end up buying imported leather rather than buying leather processing materials,’’ the D-G said.
Yakubu said that in view of these problems associated with the high costs of processing materials for leather industries, the institute had used its researchers to find lasting solutions.
“Leather industries can now get materials locally to produce leather at a lower cost, sell it abroad with high quality and quantity,’’ he stated.
Yakubu further said that Nigeria could attain high level production of leather in the world if science and technology were accorded special attention, especially in the area of manufacturing.
“Our local industries must be revived and Small and Medium Industries must be assisted with capital and training just like what obtains in Asian countries,’’ he urged.
The D-G appealed to the governments at all levels to introduce special local technology and industrialization programmes.
“The world is fast moving on technology, we are in a paradigm shift where only people with skills have upper hand in the economy,’’ Yakubu said.