The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has called on government to urgently stop the piracy of local textiles and influx of cheap foreign prints on the market to sustain the industry.
According to Mr. Solomon Stephen Ashalley Kotei, “This is in a very bad taste; it has set our teeth on edge, and is imperceptible but slowly smothering and strangulating the local textile industry to a choke and eventually to its demise.”
He therefore advised government “not to stay aloof and watch it happen, but must attack it with absolute commitment and seriousness to stop and eradicate it without any traces whatsoever.”
Mr. Kotei said this on Wednesday at Tex Styles Ghana Limited (TSG) formerly Ghana Textile Printing (GTP), Tema, during the inauguration and swearing in ceremony of the TSG local union of the ICU.
He observed the failure of successive governments to cure the menace of negative foreign influence on the Ghanaian textile industry.
“It is sad that governments in Ghana have not been able to put in place an effective and sustainable measures to control the menace of foreigners pirating local textile designs and plagiarizing and printing them for the Ghanaian markets,” Mr. Kotei said.
He further observed that the wrongful practices by foreigners with regard to the textile industry in Ghana had been allowed to thrive for a long time and continued to be “condoned by the relevant Ghanaian authorities through their inaction to address this menace.”
He informed of the dissipation of investments made by local textile industries because the Ghanaian markets were over-flooded with cheap, inferior and pirated Chinese textile prints.
Mr. Kotei said, “Given the fact that our several appeals to government to step in to save the local textile industry have still not been heeded to, a coalition of the textile companies in Ghana…will mobilize both their management and workers to march on the relevant authorities, this time round not to plead for intervention but to demand protection from the predator foreign textile prints that have inundated our local markets.”
The Managing Director of TSG, Mr. Erik Vander Staaij, lamented the bizarre situation his company faced at the hands of foreign exploitation of the market, saying majority of the textile products on the Ghanaian market were now smuggled and counterfeited and if it persisted, things would get really bad with the industry.
He said, “We are talking to government and there are promises, but it is taking too long, we cannot wait any longer. These are criminal activities and it cannot continue.”