Trade liberalisation policies said to be affecting Ghana’s textile industry

TextileThe textile industry, which was once the leader in Ghana’s industrial sector, has been declining over the years due largely to trade liberalization policies and programmes, an industrialist said on Tuesday.

These policies have made it almost impossible for Ghana’s textile products to compete with cheap imports from Asia Mrs Edwina Assan, President Spinnet Textiles and Garment Cluster, said.

Spinnet Textile and Garment Cluster is an association of small businesses in the manufacturing of textiles and garments for the domestic and export markets.

Mrs Assan who, was speaking at a press conference organised by Spinnet on the gradual collapse of the textile industry in Ghana, expressed concern about the stiff competition faced by the industry as a result of the importation of cheap textiles.

“These textiles are also most of the time inferior, especially those from Asia, which are sold cheaply on the local market, making it difficult for the local textile products to compete”, she said.

She appealed to the government to enforce measures aimed at halting the smuggling of pirated designs of local manufacturers and their logos, which sometimes also bear the symbol of quality of the Ghana Standards Board.

Mrs Assan mentioned lack of capital coupled with high interest rates from banks as some of the challenges which continuously stifle the development of the textile industry in the country.

She called for the enforcement of best practices and the upgrading of the quality of the industry’s production capacity in an effort to meet international standards.

“Due to these challenges, there has been drastic reduction in members’ production capacity by about 60%, which has also affected employment level,” she said.

Mrs Assan said the Ghana Standards Authority had failed to fully operationalize its taskforce for arresting smugglers due to inadequate   resources and the porous nature of the country’s borders.

She urged government to check corruption at the borders, designate only one port as the designation point for all imported textiles to avoid the use of porous routes and also pay attention to the protection of Intellectual Property with regards to pirating of local textile designs.

She appealed to government to come out with a policy which would make it compulsory for workers, government officials and Members of Parliament to wear made-in Ghana textiles and garments to important functions and also on Mondays in addition to the already endorsed Friday.

She called on the Ministry of Trade and Industry to facilitate the capacity building of small and medium textile firms to enable them position themselves well and be competitive.

“Funds available for micro enterprises are still too expensive to access, with interest rates ranging from 4% to 10% per month being too high for small enterprises”, she said.

Mr Abraham Koomson, Secretary General, Textiles, Garments and Leather Employers’ Union, said Spinnet would not call for a ban on the enforcement of ECOWAS’s policy on free trade, as such an act would call for retaliation at all cost.

“We however would call on government to ensure that fake or pirated products from these countries do not find their way into this country,” he said.

Source: GNA

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