By Adedapo Adesanya Stakeholders in the leather industry have advocated a strategic partnership between Lagos and Kano States to harness the potentials of the sector and improve its contribution to the nation\u2019s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This call was made by stakeholders at a virtual summit themed Towards a Sustainable Leather Processing Industry in Nigeria: Kano Tannery, the Powerhouse on Thursday, October 29. The summit was organised by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Kano State Governor on Lagos Affairs, Mr Anthony Oneya, in partnership with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and supported by Tannery Association, Kano. Mr Oneya said the partnership between both states will forge a way forward to expand local trade by bringing together value addition ideas and investments. \u201cThe partnership between Lagos and Kano is long overdue and this will help grow the sector to the level it ought to be,\u201d he said. Mr Oneya urged governments to support the improvement in the value of leather goods for both domestic use and exports through the provision of 21st-century technology. He said an improved tanning industry for leather will improve exports and give the sector the needed boost, noting that 22 out of the 36 tanneries in Nigeria were located in the Centre of Commerce. Mr Lawan Sule-Garo, Chairman, Tanners Council of Nigeria, in his remarks, appealed for intervention funds from the government to revive the sector and create jobs. Mr Sule-Garo also appealed to governments to grant incentives to wholesalers to bridge the financial gap and give priority to the local tanning industry. On the consumption of cowhides, popularly known as ponmo, which could be used for leather production, the Tanner Council Chairman said \u201cWe can continue to get leather from other animals apart from cows. We must not deter people from consuming ponmo because we want to sell leather.\u201d Mrs Toyin Umesiri, Chief Executive Officer, Nazaru LLC, called for the creation of a leather trade information desk to bridge the information gap in the industry. \u201cA classic example of the gap is that end users are not connecting with what is available in the leather market and so source for materials and finished products from other places. \u201cIf others get it right before us, then people would buy from them instead of us. Therefore, we become irrelevant in that market,\u201d she said. She urged leather experts to understand the various rules of engagement in local, regional and global markets to benefit maximally from different trade opportunities such as provided in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is set to kickstart next year. In his remarks, Mr Segun Awolowo, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), represented by Mr Abimbola Salami, a Deputy Director, said the leather industry could generate up to $1 billion in revenue by 2025. Mr Awolowo stated that the footwear industry consumed 54 per cent of leather products globally and contributed about 25 per cent of Agriculture\u2019s GDP, noting that the Leather Industry is a major earner which can drive the much-needed diversification from oil. Also speaking at the event, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, advocated a holistic approach to developing the leather value chain for a long-term growth strategy.