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Nigerian Textile Factories May Close After Import Ban Lifted

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The Nigerian government’s decision to lift a ban on imported textiles will lead to the closure of factories in the West African nation, the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association said.

“We cannot compete with imported textiles under the current business environment,” Jaiyeola Olarewaju, director general of the association, said in a phone interview today. “If within one year the market is saturated with imported textiles, local industries will have problems selling and many of them will certainly close down.”

The number of textile factories operating in Nigeria has already fallen to 25 from 124 in 1996, while the number of workers in the industry has slumped to 24,000 from 130,000, according to Olarewaju. He attributed the decline to the smuggling of cheap textiles from abroad, which the local industry is unable to compete against because of higher costs.

Nigeria imposed a ban on imported textiles in 2003. On Nov. 29, Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga announced that the ban on goods including textiles, furniture and beverages, will be replaced with tariffs of between 10 percent and 20 percent.

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