Business News of 2013-12-19

Comment: Our textiles industry cries for help

There is an ongoing tussle between the government and textile workers over the influx of pirated wax prints on the market.

Textile workers last Tuesday took to the streets to register their displeasure at the high rate of importation of pirated textiles into the country.

For some time now the local textile industry has been raising concerns over the uneven terrain for doing business, as cheap and pirated textiles have flooded the market.

The government, in response, has established the Government Anti-Pirated Textiles Task Force to try and smoke out the traders in fake textiles in the country.

The traders, who were apparently not happy with the exercise, appealed to the President to intervene to end the seizure of the pirated textiles, since the traders were losing their livelihood.

We are told that the President announced the immediate suspension of the work of the task force and gave the traders a three-month moratorium to help them make a distinction between pirated textiles and the genuine ones.

Apparently infuriated by the order to stop the task force, the textile workers hit the streets to protest against what they described as attempts to kill the textiles industry.

The Daily Graphic begs to differ from the government’s position to stop the work of the task force.

Unbridled liberalisation has brought in its wake thriving businesses in all manner of merchandise in the country.

Competition is good and the Daily Graphic will encourage it, so that everybody will work hard to increase productivity in all spheres of human endeavour.

We are told that protectionism comes at a cost, as the local capacity will not be able to provide the needs of all the people.

But that is the price that we must pay if we are to build local capacities that can take on the giants of the world.

The Daily Graphic calls for a deliberate policy to support local industries to grow, even in the face of cheap substitutes across the globe, otherwise we shall be supporting the economies of other countries.

The Daily Graphic thinks it is the responsibility of the state to provide the enabling environment for local businesses to thrive.

We shall not close our doors to outside business because Ghana does not believe in autarky. Nonetheless, we can put in place preferential policies to safeguard local initiatives, so that the prices of such goods will be as competitive as those of imported ones.

We can think deep to find answers to the problem facing the once thriving textiles industry that employed thousands of Ghanaians.

Our textiles industry calls for action to save it now and the ball is in the court of the President.