Can the destruction of seized pirated textiles save the industry?

Is the destruction of seized pirated textiles  enough to save the textile industry from collapse? Asks Jessica Acheampong 

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) in recent times has resorted to the burning of imported pirated textiles in the market as part of efforts to rid the market of these substandard products.

A task force to see to this task was subsequently set up by the former Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh comprising representatives of the security agencies, Ghana Standards Authority, the local manufacturers and some trade unions. 

Despite the strides that the task force has made since its commissioning, the issue of influx of pirated textiles still lingers on with no solution in sight for the industry which is almost on the verge of extinction.

In October 2010, the task force set up by MoTI seized and destroyed 400 pieces of pirated textiles worth GH¢20,000 through burning.

Again, in August 2011, about 580 pieces of pirated textiles were confiscated from traders in various markets across the country and destroyed at the Kpone Landfill site, in Tema by the task force.

Similar exercises have taken place throughout 2012 while a related one scheduled to take this month was called off due to some challenges but according to the General Secretary of the Textiles, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TEGLEU), Mr. Abraham Koomson, the exercise would still be carried out in some weeks.

Although the TEGLEU General Secretary explained that there would be no hiding place for dealers of this pirated textiles, checks by the GRAPHIC BUSINESS indicates some market women are openly selling these ones in the local markets.

Government Intervention

Information available on the MoTI website indicates that the Ministry would as from June this year regulate the importation of textiles into the country through only three approved entry points, namely the Kotoka International Airport and the Tema and Takoradi Ports.

The sector Minister, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who made the disclosure, explained that it was an administrative initiative by his Ministry not only to prevent inferior textiles from entering the country but to also encourage the local production of cotton that would help check the growing menace of imported cotton into the country.

Meanwhile, industry players keep calling for government support to save the industry with the latest being the president of the the Spinnet Textile and Garment Cluster, Ms Edwina Assan, calling for a holistic approach in dealing with challenges confronting the textile industry in Ghana.

The industry at a glance

The textile industry in Ghana was once a very booming industry, which employed about 25,000 workers. Most of these companies produced high quality materials, designs and very good textile brands, which sold so well on the local market as well as other markets in the West African sub- region. 

Wax prints produced by these companies were in high demand on the Ghanaian market because they were used in making traditional apparels like the Kaba and other exquisite wears. The Industry was not only a source of employment to many Ghanaians but also contributed significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP). 

In recent years the industry has gone through some difficult times resulting in shutting down of production lines of most of the companies in the industry. The surviving textile companies, Akosombo Textiles Limited, Texstyles Ghana Limited, Printex Ghana Limited and Ghana Textiles Manufacturing Company have equally had a fair share as they are currently striving to compete favorably with the imported pirated designs. 

Sadly, the local market have also contributed to the bane of the industry due to their affordability and how they have been expertly mimicked to look like the original, many people as well as the traders selling them prefer buying them despite being aware that they are the pirated ones.

 Meanwhile, a section of the public has expressed concerns about the destruction of these textiles when they can be donated to needy people in society. GB

Story: Graphic Business

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