The Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area in the Eastern Region, Daasebre Professor Emeritus Oti Boateng, has called on Members of Parliament to be in their Friday wear when discharging their duties.
This, he said, would portray the country's rich culture to the outside world, and serve as an example to constituents to patronise made-in-Ghana goods.
The Omanhene made the call in Koforidua, at the Eastern Regional launch of the “National Friday Wear”, a government initiative to promote the wearing of traditional dresses.
The event brought together a cross- section of the society including the district chief executives in the region, who were all in traditional dresses.
It was also used to showcase the various styles of dresses to be worn to workplaces designed by Connie Fashions and Nana Fosna Fashions.
According to Daasebre Oti Boateng, it was inappropriate for Ghanaians, particularly the legal fraternity, at this particular time the government was promoting traditional wear, to be wearing suits, which, he said, had been a colonial legacy that should be stopped.
“If the intelligentsia should still be putting on suits which are colonial relics and others are asked to put on traditional dresses, then the government's promotion of traditional wear would not be successful.
Daasebre Oti Boateng, who said students should be made to put on traditional clothes, suggested that traditional dresses should not be limited to only Fridays but throughout the week.
Launching the event, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Private Sector and President's Special Initiative, Mr Kwadwo Affram Asiedu, said a credit scheme to assist people to patronise made-in-Ghana goods, particularly National Friday Wear products would soon be introduced.
Giving details of the Friday wear initiative, he said the current global value of the textile trade, which stood at $342 billion or 6 per cent of merchandise trade, offered developing countries the tremendous opportunity to transform their economies through the promotion and development of the textiles and garments sector to create employment, generate income, promote growth and to create a national identity with resultant impact on poverty.
He said the virtual collapse of the textile and leather goods sub-sector had contributed immensely to the decline in the manufacturing industry, adding that the major producers in the textile sub-sector in 2004 were hit by strikes.
That, he said, had limited access to credit, and also resulted in high interest rates, high cost of production, dumping and smuggling activities of foreign exporters.
He said although the industrial sector showed some signs of recovery in the early 2000s, there had been stagnation in the sector in the past two years.
The deputy minister, who said local textile manufacturers continued to complain about the influx of cheaper textiles made in China and printed with illegal copies of patented designs, as well as huge second-hand garments from the United States of America and Europe and stated that the government had resolved to stem the tide by resuscitating some of the collapsed textile industries, such as the Juapong Textile Limited.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barima, said the sophistication of global market opportunities for textiles and garment had made it necessary for Ghana to adopt policies, programmes and strategies to boldly face the emerging challenges and that it was in that direction that the National Friday wear initiative was adopted to promote made-in-Ghana goods.
Story by A. Kofoya-Tetteh