LAGOS, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's leather industry is the country's next gold mine which holds the key to industrial growth, jobs and wealth creation, minister of science and technology said Tuesday.
Speaking at a forum in northern Sokoto State, Ogbonnaya Onu told his audience that the country can generate over 700,000 jobs from the leather industry, adding that the leather industry was strategic to Nigeria's economic diversification.
The minister said President Muhammadu Buhari was working diligently to improve the socioeconomic well being of the people by promoting local content through diversification and transformation of the economy.
According to him, the ministry would promote value addition in the industry using indigenous and innovative technologies.
Earlier, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ai'sha Abubakar, enjoined Nigerians to tap the economic potentials in the leather industry.
Abubakar also urged Nigerians to actively participate in promoting Made-in-Nigeria goods.
She reiterated the government commitment to enhancing business friendly environment, and called on the participants to dwell well on promoting linkages, harnessing productions and overall development of leather in the country.
Official statistics indicated that Nigeria still imports about 500 million U.S. dollars worth of leather products annually, although Nigerian leather is still mainly used in the production of shoes and bags, resulting in thriving local production and exportation to regional West Africa. Enditem