In furtherance of its determination to ensure full compliance with the Federal Government’s directives to patronize the Nigerian Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Industry Sector for its needs, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to partner with the Zaria Industries Limited (ZIL) for the local production of tents and other associated items.
This was revealed today, 23 November 2019, when the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, undertook an assessment visit to the Company’s factory complex in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Speaking during the visit, the CAS, who was accompanied by other senior officers from Headquarters NAF, as well as the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command Kaduna, stated that the NAF has always been at the forefront of looking inwards to ensure local content, as much as practicable, in meeting its operational and logistics needs.
The objective, he said, was to reduce dependence on goods and services from abroad, with attendant socio-economic multiplier effects in terms of foreign exchange savings and job creation as well as positive impact on national security.
Air Marshal Abubakar observed that, in line with the drive of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration for enhanced local content, he had also recently led a team of senior officers on a visit to the Ibeto Group Factory Complex in Nnewi to explore other areas of further collaboration beyond the production of aircraft batteries.
He noted that a similar visit was also being planned to some industries in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, in the coming days.
The CAS emphasized that the NAF’s quest for collaborative ventures with local industries was premised on the fact that nations at war require the full participation and support of the private sector in terms of their knowledge, skills and value-added products in order to be successful.
He noted that ZIL was one of such industries whose products and services were important to NAF operations, especially for its Quick Response Groups (QRGs) and Quick Response Wings (QRWs).
Fielding questions from journalists after the guided tour of the factory, which included inspection of the integrated production lines for Spinning, Weaving, Dyeing, Water Repellency and Water Proofing as well as visits to the Sewing, Metal Fabrication and Quality Control/Testing Sections, the CAS said he was excited with the potential value that ZIL products could add to the operations of the NAF.
He noted that, having been earlier impressed with the quality of the Company’s products, he had embarked on this personal assessment, along with a high-level delegation that could take decisions and initiate immediate action for the acquisition of the required materials for the NAF.
Air Marshal Abubakar concluded by saying that the NAF would continue to encourage and support reputable local industries like ZIL in line with Mr President’s directives.
Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ZIL, Engineer (Engr) Ilyas Saleh, while welcoming the CAS, stated that the Company was established in 1975 as the first, and still the only major local manufacturer of tarpaulin materials used in the construction of tents, canopies, camp beds and truck covers in Nigeria and West Africa.
He noted, however, that despite its installed capacity to produce over 2 million square metres of 100 percent cotton-canvas tarpaulin fabrics as well as several metric tons of cotton yarn and many types of tents and camp beds, the company had been operating sub-optimally due to challenges such as poor power supply, high cost of raw materials and consumables as well as low patronage.
He however expressed appreciation that the policies of the current Federal Government (FG) Administration towards alleviating the challenges of the CTG Sector had begun to yield positive dividends in revamping the fortunes of the company with such patronage as that of the NAF.
While thanking the CAS for the support in realizing the FG’s directives, he pledged ZIL’s commitment to manufacturing high grade tarpaulin products to meet the NAF’s expectations in terms of cost and quality.
Before returning to Abuja, the CAS and members of his entourage, made a stopover at the 271 NAF Detachment Birnin Gwari, where he inspected ongoing projects and interacted with troops.
The CAS, while assuring the troops of the Government’s unwavering commitment to providing for their operational and welfare needs, urged them to remain resolute in the discharge of their task of ensuring the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians within their Area of Responsibility.
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