Business News Mon, 2 Sep 2019

Government given one week to stop textile piracy

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A coalition of textile workers across the country has given government a one week ultimatum to effectively implement some measures which government together with stakeholders in the textiles industry agreed to, towards revamping the local textile industry.

The press conference organised by the Coalition of Textile Workers in Ghana consisting of Akosombo Textiles Limited, Tex Styles Ghana Limited, Printex and Volta Star, and addressed by their public relations officer, Mr. John Kofi Abeka was to address what the coalition called a “deliberate attempt and inaction of government” on the implementation of the agreed measures.

According to the group, the current local textile industry is one that is characterised by challenges including counterfeiting, piracy and smuggling , a situation that threatens jobs; practically 5,000 jobs are what is left of some 30,000 in the system.

The coalition revealed how some government appointees are also contributing to the collapse of the industry.

“It is alleged that, some personalities in government and the ministries are highly connected to these illegal trading and diverting government contracts meant for the local textiles to smugglers and taking their kick-backs”

The coalition says having tried many times to get government to address their concerns, it was only after it organised a demonstration in August last year, that government showed interest in heeding to their calls.

They said the demonstration earned them audience with the ministry of trade which also resulted in agreements being made by stakeholders on some “powerful and prudent” measures aimed at revamping the local textile industry.

The agreement the group said, informed a speech by the President in Parliament in which he outlined some of the measures that were to be adopted. “The local textile industry has been granted a zero-rated VAT on the supply of locally made textiles for a period of three years. We have put in place a tax stamp regime for both locally manufactured and imported textiles to address the challenge of pirated designs and logos in the textile trade. The Tema Port has been designated as a Single-Entry Corridor for the importation of textile prints with a textile taskforce in place to ensure effective compliance, and reduce, if not to eliminate, smuggling of imported textiles.”

But the group however says, except for the zero-rated VAT of which they expressed gratitude for, government is yet to implement any of the measures that were agreed on.

The coalition said an announcement by government to implement the tax stamp on 1st September 2018, never materialised whiles it has also failed to implement it on subsequent dates.

“As we are gathered here today, nothing since the September and its subsequent months that were mentioned for the implementation has been done; hence the smugglers of pirated fabrics are enjoying the fruits of their crime against the nation and the collapsing the local industries by their actions.”

The coalition thus said it was giving government a week to “start the implementation of the major measures agreed by all the stakeholders, or else the coalition would advise itself.”

“If after one week we don’t hear anything from the government and nothing is being done. we don’t expect any long talk anymore. The things to be implemented are already there and we are expecting that government is going to take them and implement them one after the other, or else we are going to advise our self.”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com