The Kaduna Textile Industry and the Decline of Textile Manufacturing in Northern Nigeria, 1955-2010

Publication Abstract

Maiwada, Salihu, and Elisha Renne. 2013. "The Kaduna Textile Industry and the Decline of Textile Manufacturing in Northern Nigeria, 1955-2010." Textile History, 44(2): 171-196.

In 1955, northern Nigerian government officials, working together with the British textile firm, David Whitehead & Sons, successfully began arrangements to build the first large textile manufacturing mill in Nigeria, Kaduna Textiles Ltd (KTL), which began production in 1957. In the following decade, several textile mills opened in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, including Arewa Textiles, United Nigerian Textiles Ltd (UNTL) and Nortex among others. Textile production, spinning and dyeing operations expanded in Kaduna during the oil boom years of the 1970s. Yet by 1997, KTL, Arewa Textiles and UNTL were barely functioning, operating with obsolete equipment, without capital to obtain spare parts and without a regular source of electricity. By 2007, all three mills had closed. In this paper, we examine the growth and the reasons for the subsequent decline of textile manufacturing in Kaduna. We argue that the industry's decline reflected both internal problems - such as frequent changes in political leadership, which contributed to abrupt shifts in industrial policy and a failure to maintain power infrastructure - and external factors - such as the implementation of a structural adjustment programme in 1986 that deregulated the currency and made imports of spare parts and modern weaving equipment prohibitively expensive. In addition, changes in international textile trade agreements and the liberalisation of Nigerian-Chinese trade after 2010 have undermined present efforts at revitalising local textile manufacturing. The paper concludes with an assessment of efforts in the first decade of the twenty-first century to reopen these Kaduna textile firms.

DOI:10.1179/0040496913Z.00000000027 (Full Text)

Country of focus: Nigeria.

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