$390bn leather industry can revive ailing economy – NILEST

The director-general/chief executive officer, Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), Prof. Mohammed Yakubu, has urged the federal government and stakeholders to develop the country’s leather industry for the diversification and revival of the economy. 

Speaking at the Leather Day at the 2023 Technology and Innovation Expo at the Eagle Square in Abuja, on Actualising Effective Diversification of the Nigerian Economy through Leather Technology, Yakubu said discouraging the consumption of raw hides and skin (ponmo) “in Nigeria will leave enough hides to produce finished leather products for local use and export.”

According to him, such interventions by NILEST will help to diversify and revive the nation’s economy, reduce capital flight, improve security, create employment and wealth, as well as promote made-in-Nigeria goods.

“Leather is currently the highest non-oil foreign exchange earner for Nigeria. The leather industry is a $390 billion worth market, globally acknowledged as a driving tool for industrialisation, especially in the developing world. Due to the contribution of leather to the National Gross Domestic Products (GDP), as the highest non-oil foreign exchange earner for the nation, the leather industry has proven to be a prolific sector contributing immensely to high employment, security, GDP, wealth generation and development.

“Nigeria must accord high priority to leather. Nigeria’s vision of becoming one of the largest economies in the world can be hastened when leather and leather products through the required technology and innovation are fully integrated into our national socio-economic development process. To implement the Leather and Leather Products Policy Implementation Plan, the Institute has continued to provide courses of instructions (HND, OND, Diploma, Pre-Diploma, Advanced Certificate and Certificate Programmes) and non-formal training, on leather and leather products technologies and related fields,” he said.