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30.11.2004 Business & Finance

Textile industry barks at government

By GYE NYAME CONCORD

And says Minister's statement is criminal THE GENERAL Secretary of the Textile, Garment and Leather Employees' Union (TGLEU), Mr. Abraham Koomson, on Tuesday described a publication in the Daily Graphic, which was attributed to the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and PSI, Mr. Afram Asiedu, to reduce the prices of their products in order to establish competition with the smuggled textile prints, as criminal.

They also criticised other statements raised in the said publication dated October 30, 2004 which reported on the leakage of information about the textile taskforce meetings that have stalled government's plans and actions on recommendations to save the industry and “pirating” of textile designs.

The union further noted that “the story, attributed to the Deputy Minister oversimplified the solution of the problems facing the textile sector and played down all the associated issues, thereby throwing dust into the eyes of the public and undermining collective efforts of the stakeholders to address the issue.”

In a reaction to the publication, Mr. Koomson told journalists at a press conference in Accra that the issue of tracking “pirated” textile designs had been considered in a document to the government from the stakeholders and that property owners also have a responsibility to monitor the abuse of their copyright

The General Secretary provided no answer to a question by a journalist as to whether it would be appropriate to try the Deputy Minister at Fast Track High Court for his utterance in the publication, indicating that he didn't agree to it.

He said comparison of prices of local textile products with prices of smuggled ones “ is very unfortunate”, adding that Nigerian products were selling in Ghana cheaply than the raw material available to the Ghanaian producer.

“It follows therefore that for Ghana government to urge local manufacturers to reduce prices of their products means asking the companies to shut down and lay off workers and allow the illegal activities of the individuals to thrive to destroy the economy”, Koomson noted.

According to him, contrary to the expectations of the workers that government would listen to their appeal and act decisively, things were rather being done to aggravate the situation as the markets are flooded with the cheap foreign textiles.

This, he said, would affect the tertiary institutions as graduates would only have a chance of abandoning their profession and taking to buying and selling business or leave the country.

Koomson said the stakeholders of the sector had identified the problems confronting them and the recommendations made include immediate temporary restriction of importation of all finished printed textile product into the country. They also recommended a restriction of the products into the country through restricted and approved entry points.

The rest, he said, included a need for a banderole system to be instituted to complement the auctioned quota system for smuggled items, and seizure of goods without necessary documents at the sales points.

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