The federal government has granted approval to the Cross River State government to begin export of products from its garment factory. A license to this effect has been issued to the state.
Executive Director/CEO of Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo made the presentation to the government, according to a statement from the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Christian Ita.
Awolowo who was represented by the regional coordinator of the council, Babatunde Flake said the organization's major interest was to put the factory on the export platform as "the multiplier effect of this garment factory is so much as a lot of accessories can come out from here.
“I am excited to say that you have formidable trainees who are smart to learn. All that you see here were designed by them with little supervision after demonstration."
The statement quoted Awolowo as saying that "we constituted this team, believing that they will be sustained, continue to work together and dictate the pace for the rest of the factory. We want them to set the standard internationally and the focus will not just be the local market but ultimately export, taking advantage of the African Growth And Opportunity (AGOA)."
On her part, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa described the export-licensed garment factory as a pride to the state and nation having engaged a large number of widows.
She said the factory had the capacity to not only turnaround the economy of the state but also capable of fill the vacuum created by the loss of the state's oil wells.
"Because it is now set for export, it will turn around the economy of this state. Most times we cry over the loss of oil wells but Ayade came, never cried over the loss and went on. This is a confirmation of his earlier statement that Cross River is not a poor state as with this, we will not be poor any longer," Ita-Giwa assured.
"I think there are more reasons for Ayade to come back than Ayade not to come back," she added in apparent reference to the governor's re-election bid.
Reacting to the development, an elated Ayade said "having trained our people, we have reached a point of maturity and it is against that maturity that we receive this certificate today.
“We, therefore, on behalf of the government and people of Cross River State, thank the federal government and NEPC for assisting us get to the export level that we are today," he said.
While enjoining local patronage of the garment factory, the governor said: "When you are creating an export market for us, please look at the domestic market. The Nigeria Customs, Immigration, Civil Defence, Army, the police, NYSC, the list is endless, we have the capacity to meet both local and international markets," adding that "NEPC has made us real proud and has given us the international footing."
Disclosing that he was celebrating the authorization with mixed feelings, Ayade said: "If Ghana can do 35,000 tee shirts a day and Srilanka, with a population of 20 million people can do 1.5 billion dollars turnover of garments alone, it will be a shame that today, Nigeria, indeed a giant of Africa has no garments to export."