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Nigeria is reviving its multi-million dollar leather industry to tackle poverty

Ogbonnaya Onu, Nigeria's Minister of Science and Technology, says the industry can generate $900 million if well harnessed.

Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu and President Muhammadu Buhari

This development caused the Federal Executive Council, the highest executive body, to approve the Nigerian leather policy at its meeting held on Wednesday, November 1, 2108.

Ogbonnaya Onu, Nigeria's science and technology minister, says the industry can generate $900 million if well harnessed.

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He said the government is ready to replicate the 2013 feat when the sector alone generated about  $921million for the country.

“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,” the minister told correspondents after the meeting.

The minister said the sector is applicable in almost every sector of the country's economic life, which includes footwear, apparels and automobile industry.

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The leather industry will tackle unemployment

Onu said the leather industry will help the country to fight poverty by creating jobs and wealth for the people.

“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 8 in terms of exporting leather in the world.”

Nigeria has world poverty capital

In June, the World Poverty Clock estimated that 86,977,400 are currently living in Nigeria, a number that accounts for 44.2% of its current estimated 196 million population.

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The Vienna-based World Data Lab report had said the outlook for poverty alleviation in Nigeria is currently weak as about six people slip into extreme poverty every minute.

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