Ghanaâ€™s textile industry is under threat of collapse due to smuggling activities within the industry. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) is to get on a nationwide campaign to educate traders on the dangers of dealing in pirated textiles. The acting Director of Communications of MoTI, Nana Akrasi Sarpong, said that the educational campaign was to expose the traders to the effects of dealing in pirated textiles on Ghanaâ€™s textile industry and also prepare their minds for the intended exercise by the task force.
The campaign is to also alert the traders about the planned resumption of the exercise by the anti-piracy textile task force to confiscate pirated textiles in markets.
He said that the ministry would hold a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting on February 3, 2014 in Accra to discuss how to fashion out a more holistic approach of dealing with pirated textiles. Traders and officials from the Ghana Immigration Service and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority as some of the stakeholders expected to participate in the meeting.
The anti-piracy task force confiscated some pirated textiles at various markets last year.
Following appeals by the traders, the presidency announced the suspension of the work of the task force, and gave the traders a three-month moratorium to learn to decipher between pirated textiles and genuine ones.
The Textile, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU) of the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) condemned the suspension of the work of the anti-piracy task force and accused the Ministry of Trade and Industry of influencing the presidency to take that decision.
The General Secretary of the Union, Mr Abraham Koomson, said that the suspension of the work of the task force had increased the influx of pirated textiles in the country, which had worsened the plight of local textiles.
He, therefore, called for the resumption of the work of the anti-piracy task force to continue the confiscation of pirated textiles and save the local textile industry from imminent collapse.
Nana Sarpong, who is also a member of the anti-piracy task force, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry was committed to the work of the task force. The suspension of the exercise was to allow for space to educate the traders on the dangers of selling pirated textiles.
Nana Sarpong said that immigration and customs officials would be encouraged to tighten checks at the entry points to prevent the smuggling of pirated textiles into the country.
MoTI did not want to be accused of targeting the traders, hence, the decision to engage all stakeholders to come up with a more holistic approach of preventing the influx of pirated textiles.
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