Textiles and Garment manufacturers in the country have expressed disappointment over President Mahama’s new strategy for dealing with the booming pirated textile business in the country, which is fast collapsing the local industry.

  President John Dramani Mahama at his maiden press interaction in Accra on Tuesday noted in an answer to a question that the attention of the Anti Piracy Task Force be directed to the entry points rather than the markets, where the garments are sold.

The president had justified the reasons for suspending the activities of the task force during the festive season, because the women who were dealing in the alleged pirated textiles had families to feed and that seizing their goods would compound their hardship.  

But the President’s submission, which was fully debated on the various media platforms, was interpreted to mean that he had endorsed illegality.

“ I can’t wait for Easter. After all, it will be a festive season and I can gather pirated textiles and sell them openly. I’ve got a family and they must EAT. If Easter comes and I go into BUSINESS and you dare try to arrest me, I will tell the President,” a social media commentator wrote on his   facebook wall.   

But the General Secretary of the Ghana Federation of Labour, Mr. Abraham Koomson told The Chronicle that the President’s antidote to the problem as expressed during his interaction with the press was indicative of the fact that he himself was oblivious of the extent of the issue on the ground, and is possibly being misled by his Ministers and their deputies.

According to him, the Chief Directors at the Ministry of Trade are not oblivious of the issues affecting the local textile industry in the country and have been part of various consultative meetings to solve the problem, but was disappointed that the Directors are deceiving the sector Minister and the Minister in turn, misleading the President.

On the eve of Christmas last year, the Anti- Piracy Task Force, which was instituted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to check pirated textile on the local market and regulated the importation into the country was surprisingly ordered to suspend its activities, a decision which gave the dealers a field day to operate.

  According to Chronicle sources, the directive to suspend the activities of the Task Force came from a powerful person close to the President. “It is just that some people are benefitting hugely from the illegal trade of pirated textiles and so have ganged up to halt the activities of the Task Force,” a source told The Chronicle.

The directive, according to industry persons was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for many local industries that are at the verge of collapse with many others planning to lay off workers.

Some of the manufacturers who spoke to The Chronicle on the issue leading to the collapse of the industry enumerated the numerous taxes that had been imposed on them and the high utility tariffs they have to grapple with.  

They mentioned for example that Residual Fuel Oil used by industry in their operations, had been increased by 28 per cent with water and electricity moving up astronomically over the last few months.

They also mentioned the issues of import duties and Value Added Tax which have also been increased by 2 and 2.5 percent respectively.

These notwithstanding, the industries are facing stiff competition from cheap pirated designs of their fabric from China, which is often under invoiced at the ports of entry or smuggled into the country   and which is   not affected by any of these production costs.

In the opinion of some Chief Executives in the Textile industry, the Industry and Manufacturing in Ghana is no longer feasible.

They contend that the task force, which had been operating over the last four years has been helpful in dealing with the menace of pirated textiles in the country and cannot comprehend why government, which professes to be committed to growing the local industries would endorse   illegality by suspending the activities of the task force.

Sources close to the industry also told The Chronicle that most of the local Textile manufacturing companies in the country are considering other business options and are planning to close down, while others are planning a massive lay off of its workers.

“We might as well begin importing and laying off our workers because it does not make business sense to be producing here,” an executive member of one of the local textile companies told the Chronicle.

Meanwhile, the Textile Workers Union are planning on another mammoth demonstration to register their displeasure at what they describe as government’s insensitivity to the plight of The local manufacturing industry.  

Leave a comment. 0 comment so far.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login