Leather Institute takes advocacy to Portugal

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Nigerian Institute of Leather Science Technology (NILEST), Zaria, has extended its advocacy campaign on National Leather Policy to Portugal leather Industry with a view to attracting foreign partnership.

Director-General of the Institute, Prof. Mohammad Yakubu told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja that the advocacy trip was to actualise the implementation of the policy launched by Vice-President Yemi Osinbanjo.

“Our recent trip to Centro Technology Do Calcado De Portugal (CTCP) was also to build a team of network of both nations’ key players in the leather sector covering policy makers, operators, and financiers,’’ he said.

Yakubu said NILEST had deemed it necessary to understudy Portugal leather industry and learn lessons on policies, practices, industry dynamics and technology.

“To understand how they were able to grow the industry from an artisanal level to a modern and sophisticated industry,

“To identify how we can attract them to set up manufacturing outfits in Nigeria;’’ he said.

According to him, the institute also considered it important to understand the funding arrangements for the Portuguese shoe industry and how to achieve low-cost, as well as quality production skills.

“We also want to collaborate with the Portuguese leather sector to become a major player in the global leather,’’ Yakubu said.

Portugal is the second best leather goods producer after Italy in the world with 120 leather goods companies.

“Portugal leather Industry is driven by small businesses, in 2010, exports of the Industry have increased by 25% and 29% increased in 2020 with 197 million Euros,’’, he said.

Yakubu said the Portugal leather industry provided 48 per cent growth in number of jobs over the past decade.

“In the first half of 2021, the sector reported a growth of 21.4% equivalent to 84 million pairs of shoes, with the Spain, France, Turkey and US as major foreign buyers of Portuguese leather products,’’ the D-G said.

To consolidate the gains from the study trip and add value to the activities of NILEST as well as Nigeria leather sector, the institute resolved to partner with CTCP on Research and Development, ISO Certified Laboratory , exchange programme and collaborations between Portuguese and Nigerian leather association/epentrepreneurs.

Other areas include: Joint Development of academic programmes, and research and exploration of abundant Leather raw materials in Nigeria, enhance leather value chain, export market, funding and collaborations.(NAN)

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