Mr Segun Awolowo, the Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), says government must invest more in the fashion/textile industry to solve the rate of unemployment in the country.
Awolowo said that the industry was a viable sector to invest in because the country is blessed with a vast land to cultivate cotton; the major raw material required by the fashion industry.
He said these as the grand finale of the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) 2017 held at the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos.
According to him, the country’s goal is to position the manufacturing industry as a viable sector for boosting the non-oil export sector so as to increase its economic growth.
The NEPC boss said the government would be achieving this by investing in the textile industry that would serve as the spring board for the resuscitation of the fashion industry.
Awolowo commended Ronke Ademiluyi, the founder of AFWN for initiating the fashion show that tends to promote African fabrics and designs.
He advised the exhibitors and designers to improve on their present standards so that their products would be able to compete with their peers internationally.
“The fashion industry presents a great opportunity in boosting our country’s export globally.
“The government recognises these potential in our fashion designers and exhibitors but they need to improve on the values and contents of their products.
“Ademiluyi has demonstrated that Nigerians will sustain this initiative in response to the government’s projection going by her activities,” he said.
Also, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, advised the government to empower the country’s youths so that they could become self-reliant, self-dependent and self-sustaining.
Oba Ogunwusi, the patron of AFWN, represented by Chief Adebanjo Adetinu said that the government could achieve this by identifying and supporting the creativity potential among youths.
The traditional ruler said this was projected in the Africa fashion week programmes where fashion designers and exhibitors displayed their talents to the admiration of the guests and visitors.
Ogunwusi, the grand patron of AFWN, said the artistic creativity of both the models and designers would fill up the vacuum created by unemployment among youths.
“Such an innovation by Ronke Ademiluyi is filling the vacuum created by unemployment among our youths.
“She only needs more sponsors to boost the project,” he said.
Another community leader from Ife, Chief Babatunde Adetokunbo, advised other fashion promoters to emulate AFWN by celebrating and boosting the nation’s culture and tradition through their creativity.
“Our culture is worth celebrating; we should be proud of it.
“What Ronke is doing is worth emulating, we should display and celebrate our culture, it is unique and I am proud of it,” he said.