Textile smuggling is killing the local textile industry in no uncertain terms, and all interventions to curb the illegal activity has not yielded positive results – which is a source of great worry to policymakers and officials alike.
Yet again, Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyeremanten has announced another intervention that will, hopefully, yield better results and save the local textile industry which is being suffocated by fake, cheap, and imported textiles from South East Asia.
These pirated or counterfeit prints have inundated the local market and rendered indigenous textile companies uncompetitive. After dialoguing at length with players in the textile industry, the minister announced an import restriction as yet another intervention to curb the practice.
A transition period of three months has thus been given for old stock to be cleared, so after that a tax stamp will be required – apart from the fact these products should enter the country through restricted import channels.
The minister said it is not government’s intention to ban the importation of textiles, but that it rather means to manage inflows so that the local industry is not unduly affected. In addition, the taskforces at border-posts will be empowered to enter market centres to check if compliance with the directive is being adhered to.
This means that from September this year the enforcement of tax stamps on textile products will become mandatory, and we believe this new intervention will have the effect of identifying all imported textile products – which will attract a duty and a tax stamp given in acknowledgement.
For too long, we have not been able to find the right solution that will curb the abuse of Ghanaian intellectual property rights by foreign counterfeiters; and worse still, it renders the local textile industry uncompetitive and less vibrant than it used to be back in the day.
We are happy that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has not given up on finding ways to curb this textile pirating. Thus, we are looking forward to a more stringent regime that will monitor inflows, charge duties, and in the process protect the local textile industry.