The Bank of Industry (BoI) has launched a N1billion fund for the country’s fashion industry.
Managing Director of the bank, Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa said the fund was to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
According to Olaoluwa, Nigerian fashion designers are one of the most creative in the world, having trained in most of the best fashion schools across the globe.
He said the fund was an initiative under the Gender Unit of the bank, and also targeted toward women-owned businesses only.
“There has been a lot of talk about SME funding, but with less actions. This is why BoI has decided to increase its funding initiatives to cluster creations.
“BoI has so far recognised 34 cluster creations nationwide to drive our funding initiatives. So, we are able to tailor each cluster based on its peculiarities.
“We are excited about this fund because of the impact it is going to make in promoting job creation, especially among the youths because fashion business globally is worth about $1trillion.
“And with the growing population of over 170 million, increasing purchasing power of the middle class, it is obvious that fashion business is, and will be a money spinner for Nigeria’s economy in the next few years,” Olaoluwa said.
He decried the state of the textile industry in Nigeria, saying that it had not benefitted enough from the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) like other African countries, due to poor competitiveness.
“It is a pity that in a last study I did on our ailing textile industry, Nigeria is like 20 years behind in global competitiveness.
“This is because about 150 companies have shut down in the last 10 years.
“We are just ensuring that we provide support for the stakeholders and see how we can contribute our quota to the sector’s revival,” he said.