The Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI) disclosed that the nation earned over 171.7 million USD during the just ended budget year from textile and garment sector and the sector has shown remarkable performance despite the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

Institute Communication Directorate Director, Bantihun Gessesse told The Ethiopian Herald that the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of textile and garment sector export during the farewell budget year was not that sluggish as imagined, rather new foreign customers have come to the pipeline and ordered products from Ethiopian suppliers though there were order cancelations and suspensions on the side of some foreign customers.

According to Bantihun, the nation’s foreign currency earnings performance

during the farewell year (2019/20) has shown a 17.2 million USD increase compared with that of the 2018/19 budget year.

“Not only has progress been registered during the previous budget year but the export earning monthly performance also shows green light in the budget year just set in. For instance, in the first month of 2020/21 budget year, July, of the plan to earn 16 million USD, the country secured 15 million USD from the sector. This is a green light for the sector to robust even critical periods,” Bantihun added.

The Director further stated that Ethiopia produced 76, 000 tons of cotton covering 55,000 thousand hectares of land, which helps the country acquire adequate cotton input for its growing textile industry and the cotton investment enables the nation to secure over 4,500 jobs opportunities during the budget year.

As to him, the total capital of the sector surpassed 19 billion Birr and it created job opportunity for above 130, 000 citizens over the past two past two consecutive Growth and Transformation Plans (GTPs) period; the average productivity of companies also traced 50.8 percent hit.

As learnt from Bantihun, the growth of the textile and garment industry is well underway withstanding financial constraints mainly emanate from shortage of foreign currency, relevant chemicals access limitations and other related retarding factors.

The institute is working closely with various companies and the government to solve sector constraints via filling capacity gaps through trainings; he said adding that it is preparing a range of trainings through inviting experts from abroad, mainly from India.

Currently the sector is focusing on decent job creation mainly with incentives and companies are improved from time to time as they have supported workers by improving salary and benefits. Currently many companies are applying performance based payment and the workers’ salary and incentives are also improving although there are still challenges that need timely solutions so as to increase productivity of the sector.

As to him, the institute is preparing a five year strategic plan in addition to its 10 year master plan to improve the textile and garment sector production and productivity by addressing critical challenges. The institute focuses on, as its next strategy, modernizing managements and effectively employing skilled man power in the sector working closely with the investors engaged in the sector.

The textile sector is playing an immense role in producing face masks to the public that help them mitigate the prevalence of COVID-19, he said adding Ethiopia’s textile products destinations were over 25 countries across the world last year.