Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, has said the approved Nigeria Leather Policy would create jobs and position the country to fight poverty.
He said this in Abuja on Wednesday, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the policy.
Onu said the policy is aimed at boosting business opportunities in the leather industry, adding that the industry generated $921 million for the government in 2013 alone.
He said: “We resolved to harness the national leather and bye products policy that will enable the government to attract more investment into the sector.
“We would do this in a manner that will allow us to make more gains instead of exporting raw leather or semi-finished products. We want to prepare our nation so that we can process our leather and use the leather in the production of finished leather products.
“We have come to realise that it has application in almost every sector of our economic life, including footwear, apparels and automobile industry. There is hardly any machine that you will open without finding a leather component. This is the only way we can create more jobs and a lot of wealth. We would be in a position to fight poverty.
“In any country, they always start with textiles and then leather. Here we have a comparative advantage because our labour cost is low. As far as light leather is concerned, we are number two in Africa and number eight in terms of exporting leather in the world.
“If we harness the leather we have in Nigeria and we process our hides and skins, we will be creating a lot of jobs and wealth because of the small-scale enterprises that will spring up. You will now have new business springing up.”