The Task Force on the Seizure and Disposal of Pirated Ghanaian Textiles will soon systematically pursue this mandate after the current round of sensitization tours across the country.
The Force, therefore, advised all categories of dealers in textiles, to clear their stocks of the proscribed products, as the market swoops to discover and destroy were eminent.
The Quality Control Manager of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Eugene Adarkwa-Addae gave the warning at a well-attended sensitization workshop in Ho.
He stressed that the authorities were not against the importation or trading in textiles, but the plagiarizing of the designs of others.
Mr Adarkwa-Addae noted that the market was now full of African textile prints, poorly and cheaply printed, using stolen designs adding that in certain cases, these unoriginal African prints had logos and trademarks of the original owners, creating confusion in the minds of the public.
“These behaviours are grossly improper, in fact criminal as the perpetrators are infringing the copy rights laws of the state, and indeed other international charters,” he stated.
He expressed regret that some of the textile products were printed with colours which had health hazards for users and therefore, banned.
According to him, all importers of textile products were expected to register designs with the GSA, besides conforming to property rights procedures at the Registrar General’s Department.
The Secretary of the Task Force, Lawrence Osei-Boateng said the sensitization programme was as a result of a directive by the President that stakeholders in the textiles business were educated on the negative impact of trade in pirated textiles on the economy of Ghana as prelude to implementing the law.
He said as part of the sensitization tours, the general public was also being educated on the special features differentiating pirated textile products from genuine ones.
He mentioned the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Customs Division, Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Ministry of Trade, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Associations of Textile Producers and marketers, as collaborators, in ensuring the policy worked.
The burning of seized pirated good he noted conformed to international statutes which said such goods should not find their way into any market.
Mr Osei-Boateng said about 6,000 pieces had been destroyed and 1,500 more in the warehouses to be touched, when the operations resumed.
John Amoah, Representing Local Textiles Manufacturers said the burden of knowing and bringing only approved textile prints in the country rested with the importer.
He said the manufacturers of textiles were not asking for protection, but simply that the clandestine use of their designs and trademarks stopped adding that going by the law a new design should be 60 percent to 70 percent different from an existing one.
Emmanuel Acolatse representing Textile Importers and Distributors Association complained about over zealousness of taskforce members.
Helen Adjoa Ntoso, Volta Regional Minister in a speech read for her expressed regret that textile industries now employ less than 3,000 workers, down from 30,000 in the 1980s.
The traders in their questions and suggestions during an open forum, indicted that they (traders) were only responding to the market situation-providing the goods that matched the purchasing strength of the people.