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Afuape: Promoting Traditional Fabric Will Generate Forex, Boost Nigeria’s Cultural Heritage 

Afuape: Promoting Traditional Fabric Will Generate Forex, Boost Nigeria's Cultural Heritage  Afuape: Promoting Traditional Fabric Will Generate Forex, Boost Nigeria's Cultural Heritage

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Hnourable Moruf Afolabi Afuape is representing Abeokuta South Federal Constituency in the 10th National Assembly. He speaks on his motion on the need to promote traditional fabric among other national issues




NASS NEWS: Tell us about your motion, calling on government to revive and promote the traditional fabric industries of Adire Kampala in order to boost the nation’s cultural heritage.



HONOURABLE MORUF AFOLABI AFUAPE: We need to have a brand as nation which will be our cultural heritage. Adire fabric Is our own invention. We developed it with our own native intelligence. If we promote it, we will have necessary forex boost our economy and move our country forward.

Funningly enough, the same Adire is being imitated as far as China. They are already importing the China made Adire and they are, most times, cheaper than what we are producing at home. The local people doing it here definitely need encouragement, they needed better training, they needed better equipment because if they continue to do it manually what they can produce will reduce and there is what we call economy of scale; the higher you produce the lower the unit cost. As such we need government to encourage the people so that they could receive better trainining, adequate funding and any other support government can give to them because it is our own initiative and we cannot allow it to die. We cannot allow somebody to take it away from us. China is indirectly taking it away from us because they have the equipment to produce, although they are still not getting the quality of what is needed. However, if we improve on the quality of what is needed in Nigeria and all of us are actually patronizing them it will generate for the country, a lot of foreign exchange. The essence of this motion is to say that the local fabric producer needs to be encouraged because it is their source of livelihood and they also employ a lot of people. We cannot afford to send people back to employment market. If we allow the China products to come to Nigeria to compete with them definitely there are bound to be problem because when people are buying Adire fabric from China, we are losing money, we are creating unemployment, we are losing our own innovation, we are losing our own intelligence and nobody is paying us any compensation for it. They only come to take this away from us and I have noticed that the quality is not better than what we produce but it is cheaper, why is it cheaper? They now use technology, they have big machinery, they have things they put together in reducing the cost, they produce enmass and as such it will reduce the the unit cost. That means we need to protect the local industry by way of raising the tariff from people that are bringing from China or completely ban such things to come from China and encourage our local producers. In doing this, we also need to ensure that we expand what we are producing here, the quantity is not enough and as such we need equipment and the people doing this don’t have such financial capacity to do that. That is the reason, the government should come to the aid of these people to be able to produce cheaper and better quality products. We should also be able to use it to boost the forex chain that is most needed in the country.



NASSNEWS: Why are you recommending either a higher tariff or a total ban on Adire Importation?



HONOURABLE MORUF AFOLABI AFUAP: That is the way to discourage people who are bringing them into the country and to encourage the local producers. The government also needed to give them better training, better equipment and financial assistance so as to be able to improve on what they are producing. If you look at the technology, government can come in and conduct a research into how we can improve on those doing it manually. They should be able to also embrace technology, they don’t have such money to do it. They could only be assisted by government. So what I’m saying is that importation of Adire should be discouraged while we also encourage our own production here.



NASSNEWS: Do you think that this is what the country needs at this point in time?



HONOURABLE MORUF AFOLABI AFUA: We are talking of foreign exchange , most times, when we export product, we get foreign exchange. If we produce Adire enmass, we can as well export. Some people buy this abroad, it can be a source of foreign exchange to the nation. It is a way of reducing what we spend on importation and improve the foreign exchange that we get on importation. It will also help us to guarantee the livelihood of some people. There will be improvements in terms of employment generation. We must continue to discourage importation and encourage export trading activities in Nigeria if only we want to move forward. That is what the entire motion is all about.



NASSNEWS: What is the benefit of this motion to the ordinary man who isn’t involved in Adire making.



HONOURABLE MORUF AFOLABI AFUA: We are saying the same thing. If we are of the believe that Adire is our heritage, it is even cheaper than what we buy abroad. It is our own innovation and we should be proud of our heritage. Let’s say we start to produce enmass here, instead of buying the Adire at a high cost for instance N6,000, we could get it at N4,000. It is unique, by the time you put it on, anyone who sees you automatically know that you are a Nigerian. It brands us a nation. If this is looked into, a lot of unemployed people will be engaged , those are the things we can benefit from it as a nation.



NASSNEWS: Let us talk about the nation’s economy. Inflation is the order of the day, what do you think the government can do to lessen the sufferings of Nigerians?



HONOURABLE MORUF AFOLABI AFUA: I have said this time without number, we need a long lasting solution to Nigeria’s problem. What can we do? First and foremost, we must increase the level of our production and become a producing nation. We cannot continue to rely on importation every now and then because we will not get any result. The only thing we should do is for us to discourage importation and encourage exportation. To become a producing nation, there are two things we must do. Firstly, there must be constant power supply, because hardly can you produce anything without power . Secondly, we have to improve the security architecture of the nation.

Two things will encourage investments in Nigeria, we have the market, the population, and the demand is here. We cannot continue to be importing as a nation, we need to industrialise, we also need to go back to the basics of our economy. We cannot continue to rely on oil, we have agriculture, we should be able to grow what we can eat. As a nation we should be able to feed ourselves, we import basically everything and this is not proper.

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