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17.11.2004 Business & Finance

Textile industry in danger - Union

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Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - The Textile Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU) on Wednesday said the textile industry was in danger and expressed worry that government was dragging its feet to implement proposed recommendations that would revamp it.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Abraham Koomson, TGLEU's General Secretary, said a publication attributed to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry asking textile manufacturers to reduce their price to be more competitive had oversimplified the solution to the problems facing the sector.

He said the Deputy Minister's advice failed to take into consideration the high production cost faced by the Ghanaian producer as compared to nations like Nigeria where heavy subsidies were given to textile manufacturers.

This, according to him, had "...played down all associated issues thereby throwing dust into the eyes of the public and undermining the collective efforts of the stakeholders to address the issues". Mr Koomson said the recommendations made by the Revenue Agencies Governing Board last year at the instance of the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning had still not been considered despite numerous pressures.

Some of the recommendations were immediate temporary restriction of importation of all finished printed textile goods and the use of the banderole system to complement the auction quota system for imported items that were more prone to smuggling, under invoicing and dumping. "In making the recommendations for government to act swiftly to address the problems, the stakeholders took into consideration the heavy revenue losses to the State amounting over 300 billion cedis annually. "It was the expectation of the workers that government would listen to the appeals and act decisively. On the contrary, things are being done to aggravate the situation to the detriment of the workers and the markets are flooded with cheap foreign textile prints."

He noted that the industry in the early 1980s could employ more than 25,000 workers nationwide but today it was employing as low as 3,000 as a result of the unfettered trade liberalization, smuggling, under-invoicing and dumping.

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