Business News of 2014-05-21

‘40% of textile imports are fake’

The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Limuna Muniru, has noted that about 40% of textiles imported into the country are pirated, which requires a tough approach to deal with the menace that has brought local textile factories to the verge of collapse.
He said the seizure of fake textile imports is not enough of a deterrent measure to rid the market of fake goods, as the pirates almost always contrive to bring into the country more fake materials even when their goods have been impounded before.
“There should be stiffer punishments for importers and manufactures who have been contributing to collapse of the local industry for their selfish gains.
“Because those apprehended are not punished enough -- only get their goods are seized -- they continue to seek funds from other places to import more. If they are really punished it would deter the recalcitrant importers from bringing pirated materials into the country,” he said.
Alhaji Muniru said this in Tamale at a sensitisation workshop for textile dealers and the general public. The workshop was on the theme ‘National crusade against trade in pirated Ghanaian textiles’.
He explained that the over-reliance of consumers on imported textiles troubles government amid efforts to promote made-in-Ghana goods as a way of sustaining the production capacity and profitability of domestic textile manufacturers.
“This is a worry to government, as a number of companies in the textile and garment sub- sector are closing down and laying-off their staff,” he said.
The topmost head of government’s business in the Northern Region reiterated government’s commitments to deal with the issue of pirated textiles, and called for concerted efforts to boost the sale and patronage of locally produced textiles.
Currently, local textile manufacturers consider pirated textiles the biggest challenge to their business as the price of the imported products makes it uncompetitive for local firms.
As of the beginning of this year, about 3,000 jobs were in existence in the textile industry -- down from about 30,000 a few years ago. The Trade Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, recently likened the paradox of pirated textiles influx as a crisis affecting the potential growth of the local textile industry.
Over the years, attempts to minimise pirated textiles on the market have either been hit and miss, or misguided.
Last year, the Joint Anti-Piracy Taskforce set up by government to check pirated textiles suspended its work on the orders of President John Dramani Mahama -- after incessant complaints of harassment from market traders.
Some textile workers groups have called for an outright ban on the importation of textiles into the country as a protectionist measure.
However, Alhaji Muniru explained that the government’s hands are tied in capping textile imports, as the ECOWAS protocol on trade forbids member-countries -- of which Ghana is one -- from imposing an absolute ban on the import of competitive goods and services.
He said revamping of the cotton industry in the Garu-Tempane District in the Upper West Region will be a boost to the local textile industry and create jobs for many others.
“The potential of the cotton industry contributing to the manufacturing sector is high, which will promote the textile industry and create jobs in the country,” he said.
The Chairman of the Tax Force on Seizure and Disposal of Pirated Ghanaian Textile Designs, Appiah Donyina, said members of the Task Force -- with assistance from the security agencies, will intensify operations and track traders who stock and sell Ghanaian pirated good.
An official of the Ghana Standards Authority, Eugene Adarkwa Addai, expressed regret at traders’ desire to continuously import counterfeit textiles into the country and emboss them with imitated Ghanaian logos to make them look like made in Ghana textiles.
He described such activities as not only criminal but dangerous to the health of consumers, as most the chemicals used to treat such fake textiles can cause harm to users.
He appealed to textile manufactures to ensure that their products are brought before the Vetting Committee on the Importation of African Textile Print for certification before allowing them onto the market.