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22.02.2012 Business & Finance

Stop Importation Of Illicit Textiles - Market Women Cry Out

By Rita Adongo - Daily Graphic
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Dealers in locally manufactured and imported textiles have called on the government to step up the fight against illicit importation of the products since such imports are hampering their businesses.

The dealers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the illegal importers of textile products from Asia made as much as GH¢1.50 on a piece of cloth, while dealers in locally sourced textiles were only able to make GH¢0.50, a phenomenon which was unfair to the market.

The market women, who made this known to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS during a visit to the market to assess the progress of the industry, attributed the unfair competition to lose security checks at the various entry points and borders of the country.

According to the market women, the activities of the illicit importers were also aided by the inferior quality of the material used in the manufacture of what they said were pirated textile with the designs and brand names of local textile manufacturing companies.

A source close to local textiles manufacturers in Ghana said while most manufacturers had taken the trouble to register their designs in addition to the efforts of the task force to curb piracy, some manufacturers had, however, given them the edge for piracy by not formally registering their designs.

When contacted, the General Secretary of the Textile and Leather Workers Union, Mr Abraham Koomson agreed that the textile industry was almost dead because the various governments had waited for far too long to put in place measures to revive the industry.

He likened the present condition of the industry to “a sick person who has been denied immediate medical care and then the person gets into a comma, the chance of survival for the person becomes a 50-50 chance”.

He added that in recent times the industry had gone through some difficult times resulting in the shutting down of the production lines of most of the companies, rendering many workers redundant.

Ghana Textile Print, which once produced quality GTP brand, is reported to have shut down its spinning and weaving departments and laid off many of its workers.GTP which initially employed about 1,800 workers, currently employs only 600 workers.

Mr Koomson added that the Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL), was due to lay off some employees last year, but for the lack of funds to compensate the workers.

“Most of the companies which were still operating were importing gray baft and semi-finished/ bleached cloth for printing in Ghana which were initially produced here in Ghana,” he said.

The TLWU General Secretary said it was worrying to know that textiles that came from China did not only carry the designs of Ghanaian clothes but were imitated to let them appear as though they were made-in-Ghana, adding that “they sell far below the prices of Ghanaian textiles,” and are comparatively of inferior quality,

Consequently, Mr koomson said, most retailers of textiles produced by local textile companies such as ATL, Printex, and GTP, had abandoned dealing in local clothes and now sell the far cheaper wax prints from Asia.

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