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18.09.2005 Business & Finance

Bartels inspect garment factory

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Koforidua, Sept. 18, GNA - The Minister of Private Sector Development and the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI), Mr. Kwamena Bartels, has inspected the Maagrace Garment Industry Limited at Koforidua on Friday to acquaint himself with the progress of work. The 12.2 million-cedi factory, which would be ready for the production of men's and women's wears for export to the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), was being established by local investors under the ambit of the PSI, garment sector. Briefing the Minister, the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the company, Mrs Comfort Owusu Agyeman, said the factory, whose construction started last year, was expected to start production by the end of the year.

She said at full capacity, it would have a workforce of 700, 80 per cent of them women.

According to her, the fabrics and machinery, including 300 sewing machines, had arrived in the country, awaiting installation and production upon the completion of the construction of the factory's premises.

Mrs. Owusu Agyeman mentioned problems facing the factory as those involved connecting utilities to the factory, obtaining collateral to secure loans from the banks and cost of machinery to install the plant and machinery.

Mr Bartels, who expressed satisfaction about the state of the factory's construction, announced that it was among two others being established at Kumasi by the end of the year to enable them to participate in the supply of textiles, including four million T-shirts order, to the US early next year.

He said similar garment factories are to be sited at Takoradi and Cape Coast to ensure that Ghana would not only take full advantage of AGOA, but be in the position to supply orders based on specifications. Mr Bartels said as labour-intensive plants, they would also contribute towards employment generation.

On whether there were plans for the local production of cotton to supply to the PSI garment factories, he explained that since the fabrics for the export market were produced from long cotton yarns not produced locally, plans were afoot for that type of cotton to be introduced to local farmers to produce.

According to him, the problem with the local textile industry was due to the high subsidies being enjoyed by their counterparts in developed countries.

He added that Ghana and other developing countries were pushing for an end to such policy under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) floor.

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