The once-vibrant Ghanaian textile industry is at a cross-road due to pirated textiles smuggled into the country despite the governmentâ€™s constant efforts to stop piracy in the country. Itâ€™s impacting the operations of textile companies as cheap pirated textiles make original textile designs manufactured in Ghana relatively expensive.
There were about 20 textile companies which employed about 25,000 in the 1980s. But currently there is a remnant of just four textile companies employing fewer than 2,000 people, battling to stay in business amid a myriad of challenges.
According to the Managing Director of Ghana Textile Prints (GTP) Kofi Boateng, the problem is so large that despite government setting up an anti-piracy task force, the efforts are not having any meaningful impact, though the government have scared a few people.
Their designs, labels and copyrights are being imitated by some people from the Far East. They then print and bring them back onto the Ghanaian market. In order to survive and compete well, they will now have to employ more young but experienced creative people so that they can have thousands of designs and colours on a monthly basis.
Even surviving companies Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL), Tex Style Ghana Limited (GTP), Printex and Ghana Textile Manufacturing Company (GTMC) are struggling in the face of competition from cheap, pirated imports.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has said it is not against the importation of fabrics so far as they are not fake in terms of design, brand-name and other characteristics.
John Kwesi Amoah, Assistant Manager Brand Protection ATL, noted that they are not saying that government should ban people from importing textiles. They want fair competition; people should come with their own design and brand.
The task force team since its establishment in 2010 has undertaken many different destruction exercises, the textile designs were seized during operations by the task force at various outlets across the country, a total 6,000 pieces of Ghanaian-designed fake textiles destroyed.
The illegal business has led to the retrenchment of many textile workers, while some local manufacturers were forced to diversify their businesses.
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