News / Africa

Used Clothing Kills Nigerian Textile Industry

In this photo taken June 18, 2012, people buy secondhand clothes at Katangua market in Lagos, Nigeria.
In this photo taken June 18, 2012, people buy secondhand clothes at Katangua market in Lagos, Nigeria.
Heather Murdock
— In markets in northern Nigeria, some shoppers scoff at clothes made by Nigerian companies and prefer to buy second-hand clothes from the West.  The country's flailing textile industry says the trend is killing their chances of coming back to life. 

Nigerian companies make clothes but in your average market, the racks are filled with imports, often from the West, that have already been worn.  

This shopper, Nafiu Akilu Usman, is buying second-hand jeans at a market in Kaduna in northern Nigeria.  He says he wouldn’t buy Nigerian clothes, even if he had the money.

“Nigeria is not producing [quality] clothes, so that’s why I prefer that," he said.

Locals say the used clothes were originally charitable donations from abroad, meant to clothe the poor, but they have no readily available proof.  In fact, some say, the clothes do serve the poor with T-shirts for sale for as little as 32 cents.  A new shirt costs $10 at least.

The influx of clothes may have killed the textile industry, which was booming until the late 90s but now is near collapse.

“If you look at the textile industry in the north, virtually none of them is working.  And if they are working, they are working at a very minimal and skeletal level.  So they cannot be able to produce for the requirement of the people in the first place," said Awwalu Makarfi, deputy president of the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce.

“Made in Nigeria” clothes seemed doomed, he adds, because companies cannot make enough money to invest in modern equipment to compete.  Nigerian factories also have to pay for additional security to keep their workers safe in many volatile regions.  Beyond that, he says, electricity is unstable and often unavailable, costing anyone who wants to run a factory a fortune.
 
“Or you take the simple example of the energy and power.  Even before the collapse of the industry most of them were running 24 hours on [generator] sets," said Makarfi.
  
Most Nigerians live in dire poverty and at this point, he says, even industrialists who make clothes buy from abroad because the price difference leaves them no choice.

At the market in Kaduna, Ramatu Usman sorts through used T-shirts for her two children.  She says she knows buying foreign clothes is bad for the local economy.

“People go to buy these clothes because they see it’s cheaper and its more economical so thereby the industry keeps going down-keeps collapsing.  I have to laugh because it is so funny," she said. 

She has to laugh, she says, because with rampant unemployment, idle young men killing and dying and hungry children in her town, if she didn’t laugh, she would cry.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna, Nigeria.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid