Business News of 2014-01-08

‘Mahama was ignorant, ill-advised on illegal textile trade’

The General Secretary of the Textiles Workers Union has denounced President John Mahama's directive that pirated textiles be seized at the entry points not markets. Abraham Koomson said the president's proposal is borne out of either ignorance or deception.

At a media interaction to mark the first anniversary of his administration, President John Mahama in an answer to a question on how government intends to deal with the booming illegal textile trade said the task force mandated to fight the illegal textile trade must change their modus operandi.

Instead of sniffing around the various markets in the country and seizing pirated textiles illegally imported into the country, the president said the task force must rather turn their attention to the borders through which the products are smuggled into the country.

He justified government's decision to return to some market women, seized pirated textiles, saying it was wrong to collect bribes at the ports and allow pirated products into the country only to seize them from poor women who had gone to buy them to retail and eke out a living.

His suggestion has not gone down well with the textile workers union as well as leading members of the task force. The General Secretary of the Union, Abraham Koomson, who is also a member of the task force, told Joy News the president has been ill-advised on the matter.

"The way the president put things, you could see he is uninformed about the real situation. The Chief Directors at the Ministry who are permanently employed there know the situation on the ground.

"And we also believe they ill-advised the minister and his deputy to misinform the president about the real situation because the way the president presented himself, it appears he knows nothing about the issues," he stated.

He added the task force cannot be directed to seize the illegal textiles at the country's borders when 99 per cent of the goods do not pass through those borders. Abraham Koomson said the country's borderlines are so extensive and mostly unguarded, making it easier for the smugglers to use those routes.

Except the government is ready to station human beings across the long stretch of the country's borders and seize the smuggled textiles at those illegal routes, Abraham Koomson said the best strategy to fight the illegal textile trade will be to seize the textiles at the point of sale.

The General Secretary said the president cannot be seen to be sympathizing with "criminals" who are engaging in the illegal activities and hurting the economy. He said the union will call a press conference within the week to enlighten the president on the activities of the illegal textile traders and the best strategies to fight the menace.