Alex Frimpong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), has called for a legislative system to harmonize laws on intellectual property rights.
According to him, many industries in the country were collapsing due to counterfeiting, piracy and infringement on intellectual property rights.
Mr. Frimpong, who was speaking at a press conference in Accra on the GEA/BUSAC Fund project on counterfeiting and illicit trade in Ghana, said the current penalty points must be reviewed to deter people from engaging in the nefarious activities.
He said counterfeiting and piracy pose many risks for businesses in the country, adding that illegal activities on the market were negatively affecting the products of domestic producers which have led to significant loss of profit and jobs, especially in the textile and pharmaceutical sectors.
Mr. Frimpong said competition in the marketplace was distorted, noting that legitimate businesses could not compete with the pirates who utilize the work of others without contributing to research and development.
‘The theft of intellectual property on the scale being witnessed today is stifling innovation and creativity at the heart of today’s knowledge-based economy.
‘They undermine the livelihood of creators and innovators, as well as millions of other people working in intellectual property-related sectors.
It interferes with the virtuous cycle of investment, whereby revenues from existing products are re-invested in developing creativity and innovation,’ he said.
Mr. Frimpong said counterfeiting and illicit trade also affect job creation, government revenue, the image of the country.
He appealed to all stakeholders to work together to address the numerous issues.
Mr Frimpong disclosed that the Association had secured funding from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC Fund) to implement a policy to address the issues.
Emmanuel Doni Kwame, Managing Director of World Trade Centre and Consultant of the project, said pirated goods were very cheap but costly, stressing the need to launch a campaign to combat counterfeiting and piracy in Ghana.
Mr Doni Kwame said the focus of the project is on textile and pharmaceutical sectors and expressed the hope that the targets would be met.
By Cephas Larbi
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