Textile retailers in the Cape Coast Kotokuraba Market have appealed to Government to extend the four-month period it had scheduled to seize and destroy pirated fabrics to a year. They said this would enable them to sell the fabrics off completely.
Deputy Chairperson of the Kotokuraba Textile Retailers Association, Madam Rose Mensah, who made the appeal on behalf of the traders, explained that because the Ghanaian Fabrics were expensive and were therefore not being patronized, they invested a lot of money in the pirated ones and would incur huge debts if the fabrics were destroyed.
Madam Mensah made the appeal when the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) Task Force met textiles retailers at the Kotokuraba market in Cape Coast on a sensitization programme as part of the “National crusade against trade in pirated Ghanaian textile designs and trademarks.”
Madam Mensah further appealed to Ghanaian textile producers to reduce the prices of their fabrics as well as resume the production of other grades of their fabrics, which were less expensive to increase patronage.
She said most customers preferred pirated fabrics because they were affordable. Chairman of the MOTI task force, Mr Appiah Donyina earlier, cautioned textile retailers against the sale of pirated Ghanaian textile designs and trademarks.
He stated that more than 6,000 pieces of pirated fabrics had been destroyed nationwide and that retailers had also been given another chance to phase-out the fabrics to avoid the fabrics being seized and destroyed.
He explained that retailers were at liberty to sell fabrics imported into the country; but they were not allowed to sell fabrics that were not made in Ghana but bore Ghanaian labels, and those that were pirated Ghanaian designs.
He indicated that, the designated entry points for the importation of textiles into the country were the Kotoka International Airport, and the Tema and Takoradi ports. He also advised traders to buy from the accredited distributors of textiles companies whose designs they wanted to sell, in other to get authentic fabrics.
The Task Force Chairman added that retailers of pirated fabrics were as guilty as the importers and therefore advised traders to desist from engaging in such illegal trades to avoid the seizure of their goods.
He said Government had the interest of all stakeholders of the textiles business at heart and had put measures in place to protect them, adding that, the patronage of Ghanaian fabrics could create employment for many unemployed in society.
The Director of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Mr Esmond Arde Acquah said textiles were high risked goods that needed to be well accessed to ensure highest standards. He said some chemicals used in textile production could cause harm to the body if not properly supervised.
He indicated that most of the pirated textiles were not properly supervised and therefore exposed users to all kinds of dangers including cancer. The Assistant Manager of Brands Protection, Akosombo Textiles Limited, Mr John Kwesi Amoah said the creation and registration of designs involved a lot of resources, and must not be allowed to be pirated.
He said Ghanaian textile companies considered the weather conditions in the country and therefore used hundred per cent cotton in the production of textiles, while the pirated ones were made from substances dominated by rubber, thereby making them not durable.
Mr Amoah affirmed that the poor quality of these fabrics which bore Ghanaian labels was driving away the interest of Ghanaians in the locally-made products. He therefore urged patrons to be extra vigilant, adding that, they should not be enticed by the prices of the pirated fabrics but rather, the quality of the Ghanaian fabrics.