Gov’t gets tough on pirated textiles, foreigners in retail

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has inaugurated two committee to help fight against the smuggling of pirated textiles into the country.

The two separate committees–Committee On Foreign Retail Trade and Vetting Committee On Textiles–to ensure fair trade among businesses in the country.

Speaking at the inauguration of the two committees, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Carlos Ahenkorah said: “It is a national exercise; it is something that we want to ensure that it does not derail our trade platform or our trade environment in terms of people gaining unnecessary advantage.

The reason why this is going on is that our traders here [locally] some of them are borrowing money at 37percent to go out there to bring their wares in, some of these foreigners are getting credit at 2percent to bring these same wares in, there is no way the two of them can compete, so certainly there will be some disparity.”

He, however, explained that it is also not a reason to prevent foreigners from coming to trade in Ghana, but rather they are supposed to be confined to specific places where the law requires them to be.

The mandate of the 20 member committee on foreign retail trade includes: enforcing sections 27(1) on activities reserved for Ghanaians; section 40 on offences and section 41 on penalties of the GIPC Act.

Secondly, to regularly sensitise the public on the effects of foreigners engaged in retail trade, engage stakeholders such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GIPC, Registrar General’s Department and Ghana Immigration Service to be successful; Sensitize the general public on the dangers inherent in Ghanaians fronting for foreigners in the retail sector.

The Committee are also expected to regularly engage executives of foreign trading associations to ensure a successful compliance.

The members were drawn from institutions such as Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. Other institutions were the Ghana Revenue Authority Customs, Ghana Police Service and Ghana Immigration Service.

The rest were Ghana Union of Traders Association, among others.

Mr. Ahenkorah also urged the 12 member vetting committee on textiles to ensure that they subject all seized goods to thorough scrutiny to ascertain the real ownership of the goods under reference and take a decision.

Furthermore, terms of reference will also include education of the general public on the adverse effects of patronising pirated Ghanaians textiles designs.

All seizures shall be accompanied with notices issued by the Customs Division of GRA, according to their terms of reference.

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