General News of Sunday, 1 February 2015
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Murtala Ibrahim, has appealed to Ghanaians not to attach any emotional sentiments to the decision by the Ministry to destroy seized pirated textiles.
According to him, the destruction is aimed at protecting local firms as well as the health of citizens.
Mr. Ibrahim also indicated that people patronized the pirated textiles because they were cheaper but cautioned that they rather contained dangerous chemicals that could cause skin cancer.
He made these remarks when he supervised the destruction of 3,500 pieces of pirated textiles confiscated from traders in various markets across the country.
The burning, which took place at the Kpone Landfill site, near Tema, was witnessed by the anti-pirated task force set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2010, representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Standards Board and the Textile Manufacturers and Textile Importers Association of Ghana.
The textiles were seized during operations from September 1 to December 31, 2014 at Makola, Koforidua, Agona Swedru, Mankessim, Cape Coast, Kumasi, Sunyani, Elubo, Takwa, Techiman and Abora.
Mr Ibrahim said a national forum was held in February 2014 to solicit views from stakeholders on how to enhance the work of the task force as well as educate consumers and traders on how to differentiate genuine from pirated textiles.
He said the outcome of the forum among others, was to strengthen the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Customs Division to seize pirated designs at the ports of entry.
He mentioned that the destruction of the foreign textile was in line with the World Trade Organization (WHO) obligations adding, “all pirated goods should not be allowed into country and we do not have any place to keep them but to burn them”.
The Deputy Minister added that the move was to create a level playing field for the public as well as the private sector and that the Ministry was not interested in cheating people or interested in compromising with people who cheat.
Mr John Kwesi Amoah, Assistant Manager in charge of Brand Protection at ATL, said four persons had been arrested in connection of the pirated textiles and would be processed for court.
Mr Appiah said some of the chemicals used in the printing the foreign textiles contained dangerous chemicals which are injurious to the body adding that the exercise signified commitment on the part of all the parties.
He expressed optimism that the move would help the textile industry which is on the verge of collapse.