Little hope for textile industry revival in struggling Nigeria

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The struggling textile industry in Nigeria
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The struggling textile industry in Nigeria
A gate of the closed-down Unitex textile factory is seen in Kaduna, Nigeria November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A chair stands at the closed-down Unitex textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A bicycle stands at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A door to the textile workers' union office is seen at the closed-down Unitex textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Fire extinguishers are seen at an entrance of a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Containers of cotton yarns are seen at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A wooden box containig plastic equipment is seen at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Textile-weaving machines are covered at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A production department of a textile factory is seen abandoned in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Cotton-sorting machines are seen at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Screens are seen inside a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016 REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A sticker is seen on a wall at the closed-down Unitex textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A device hangs on a wall at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Workers' cards are seen at the closed-down Unitex textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A notice board hangs next to a door at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A locker with abandoned items is left open inside a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A meter displays a pump reading at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeira November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Workers' cards are seen at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A petrol pump stands at a closed-down textile factory in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A closed-down textile factory complex is seen in Kaduna, Nigeria November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde SEARCH "NIGERIA TEXTILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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KADUNA, Nigeria, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Talba Goni has been trying without luck to get government funds or loans to restart a textile plant in Kaduna, the former industrial heartland in northern Nigeria, that he was running until it closed almost 15 years ago.

"We were not able to meet up with those conditions to access the funding ... the bureaucracy, you have to give this, you have to give that," he said. "There should be concessions, like the company income tax, a waiver for about 3-4 years."

Most importantly, Goni is unable to get enough petrol to power the plant's generators as the major oil producing country grapples with fuel shortages due to its derelict refineries.

"We can't operate without black oil (petrol), it's very expensive and also very scarce," he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari hopes to revive the once flourishing textile and leather industries in northern Nigeria to end the country's dependence on oil exports and diversify Africa's biggest economy.

But a collapse in vital oil revenues has pushed the West African nation into its first recession in 25 years, making it difficult to provide state loans or improve the erratic power supply that has led to closure of most plants.

Adding further woes, a central bank decision to keep the naira currency at a high rate versus the dollar has deterred foreign investors fearing to get caught eventually in yet another devaluation .

There have been some limited Chinese investments in recent years into what is left of Nigeria's leather and textile industry, but most plants have remained closed since throwing in the towel in the 1980s and 1990s.

Goni said he had to fire 2,500 workers, joining an army of unemployed from which Boko Haram jihadists waging an insurgency in the northeast have been recruiting.

"We are getting the people out of the woods," he said. "Once we are able to start the factory, we will solve a lot of this problem of unemployment."

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