The government should, as a matter of urgency, stop the piracy of local textiles and the smuggling of cheap foreign prints into the country, the General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Mr Solomon Kotei, has said.
That, according to him, was to save the local textile industry from total collapse.
Mr Kotei said this during the inauguration and swearing-in of the Tex Styles Ghana Limited (GTP) Local Union of the ICU at the factory premises of GTP, last Wednesday.
Mr Kotei stated that: “It is sad that governments in Ghana have not been able to put in place effective and sustainable measures to control the menace of foreigners pirating local textile designs and plagiarising and printing them for the Ghanaian markets.”
“Given the fact that our several appeals to the government to step in to save the local textile industry have still not been heeded to, a coalition of the textile companies in Ghana will soon mobilise their management and workers to march on the relevant authorities. This time round not to plead for intervention but to demand protection from the predator foreign textile prints that have inundated our local markets.”
Present at the ceremony were the Managing Director of GTP, Erik van der Staaij, and his entire management team. In his speech, he made a passionate appeal to the government to put into action all the lofty plans it had discussed with the textile companies.
He asked the government to consider exempting the local manufacturers from value-added tax (VAT) payment as an interim measure.
He also appealed for the energy cost to be reduced for industry and urged the government to strengthen and empower the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to tighten its operations at the borders, especially the Eastern Corridor, to stop the smuggling of fake fabrics into the country.
All the four remaining manufacturing companies in Ghana, namely Volta Star, Tex Styles Ghana (GTP), Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL) and Printex Ghana Limited, are on the verge of collapse.
The reasons for this state of affair is simple: Pirating of their designs and smuggling of same into the country without paying the necessary taxes by unscrupulous businessmen and women, and selling them at much lower prices compared to the locally manufactured ones.