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09.11.2005 Business & Finance

Ministry moves to create level playing field for local textile companies

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Accra, Nov. 9, GNA - The Ministry of Trade and Industry has put in place some administrative measures and policies to support the local textile companies to deal with a variety of trade malpractices and create a level playing field for the local companies to compete with cheap textile imports.

A national taskforce has also been formed to check smuggling along the eastern and western corridors of the country, as these routes have been identified as the entry points for illegal textile imports, Mr Alan Kyeremanten, Minister of Trade and Industry, said this in Parliament on Wednesday.

He was responding to a question on steps being taken to save the Ghanaian textile industry from total collapse. "I would like to inform the House that as a result of the vigilance of the national taskforce, presently, 31,000 pieces of African textile prints have been impounded.

In order to support the operations of the taskforce the Ministry had made arrangements for some canoes and outboard motors to be placed at their disposal, in addition to other forms of logistical support," he said.

The Minister said a proposal had been submitted for the "reduction of import duties across board, in respect of all inputs such as cotton, chemical and dye stuffs as well as providing concessionary tariffs in respect of both water and electricity, which are all major components in the textile production process."

Mr Kyeremanten said the Government had adopted a strategic plan to develop and expand the garment industry so that it would attract new investments into the textile industry by providing the raw material base for garment production.

"To this end, a new garment village, which will host over 100 garment factories is under construction in the Tema Free Zones Enclave. "In addition to this, a smaller garment production enclave has been established at Adjabeng, in Accra, which currently hosts four medium sized garments companies with an additional three in the pipeline," Mr Kyeremanten said.

The Minister touched on the declining fortunes of the textile industry in the country, saying that between 1975 and 1995, employment had gone down sharply to about 7,000 from 25,000.

"Mr Speaker, the global outlook in the textile industry presents an equally dismal picture."

He said global reports indicated that in May 2005, as many as 30 million direct jobs and a further 30 million indirect jobs from the industry was under threat and, therefore, the problem was not peculiar to Ghana.

He mentioned the high cost of labour, local cotton and old machinery as some factors, which had made the local textile industry uncompetitive vis-=E0-vis imports.

Meanwhile, the Minister had hinted that Juapong Textile Company, which recently folded up, "would be re-started" under a new arrangement. He promised to furnish the House with details of the new arrangements at the right time.

In the House to answer another question was the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, who told the House steps being taken to avert serious pollution of the River Adeiso by a private toilet facility, which serves the public at Adeiso in the West Akim District. He said following report of the contamination of the river, which serves as a drinking source of water for some residents in the area by materials from the private toilet facility, a committee was set up to investigate the matter.

He said the committee came up with recommendations some of which included the re-designing of the septic tank and the removal of the open pipes, which emptied into the river He said the recommendations had been implemented and a water analysis of the river had been conducted recently to check on the quality of the water in river. Mr Barimah said a sensitisation programme had also been put in place to educate the community on the need to keep a healthy environment to protect their water sources.

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