Business News of Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has successfully convinced textile workers from demonstrating after the latter vowed to hit the streets if quick steps were not taken to rid the textile market of pirated and contraband products.
The minister who met aggrieved textile workers together with the General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Solomon Kotei in his office assured them measures will be taken to address the many decade long challenges that bedevil the industry.
Ghana’s textiles industry which used to employ over 25,000 people has seen a decline in sales and production since 2005, leading to massive lay off of workers due to the import of cheap Chinese textiles.
Currently, out of the over 30 Ghanaian textile company that existed barely 4 are surviving employing a little over 2,000 workers as it nears total collapse.
As part of measures to deal with the challenges of the sector that has literally been ‘left to die,’ the Minister said government will release the long-promised stimulus packages to the sector as well as use government procurement power to buy from for local textile companies.
“We are going to provide the stimulus support that is financing the companies within a period of one month. As our President has always maintained, we are going to use government procurement power to support the procurement of local print” he said.
Additionally, Mr. Kyerematen promised to dispatch anti-piracy task force which initially positioned only at the borders into markets to scout and confiscate pirated and contraband textiles.
He also said the Trade Ministry will liaise with Finance Ministry to roll out tax stamp on authorised prints by June 1st, 2018 while stressing the need for the textiles manufacturers to scale up in operational efficiencies.
The Minister announced import restrictions on unauthorised products to reduce contraband prints from the Ghanaian market.
But it will be recalled that similar bailout plans were mentioned in time past to deal with the woes of the industry which started in the early 2000s.
The import restrictions plan which lacked details announced by the minister is defeated by the very fact Ghana is a signatory to many trade liberation agreements hence any attempt to prevent imported textiles from influxing the Ghanaian market could be deemed an affront to such agreements and may attract international sanctions.
On the tax stamp policy, already some sectors, namely Food and Beverage manufacturers, considering the challenges the policy will pose have threatened to withdraw all locally manufactured products from the market if the government goes ahead with the implementation.
That notwithstanding, the impact of the Tax Policy Stamp has not been felt much in other sectors it’s been rolled out.