Textile Workers Demand Govt Action On Importation Of New School Uniforms

06-09-2019

Textile Workers Demand Govt Action On Importation Of New School Uniforms

The Coalition of Textile Workers in Ghana has asked why the fabrics for the new school uniforms for junior high schools (JHSs) are being imported into the country.

The group said local producers had previously engaged the government and written many letters between July 10 and 25, 2019, requesting for audience to present proposals for consideration by the government, only to be hit by the news that the local market was already inundated with bundles and yards of the fabrics from foreign sources.

At a news conference in Tema on Monday [September 2, 2019], the group, consisting of workers of Tex Styles Ghana Limited (GTP), Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), Printex Limited and Volta Star Textiles Limited, formerly Juapong Textiles, also said they were frustrated by the government’s inaction on clamping down on the activities of smugglers of textile products into the country.

It said even those who were pirating the designs of local textile producers and importing them for sale in the country at low prices were enjoying a field day.

The group urged the government to, within a week, start the implementation of major policies agreed on by stakeholders to revive the local textile industry.

It also wanted the government to urgently constitute a Joint Task Force to monitor the influx of pirated textile designs that were allegedly smuggled into the country by some traders.

“We have come to the realisation that the government has not shown good faith towards the sector and as a coalition we will be forced to take drastic measures if our demands are not met within the stipulated time,” the Secretary of the coalition, Mr John Ackon, stated at the news conference.

The group said the situation had rendered local producers ineffective, leading to the downsizing of their operations and staff redundancies.

 

Mr Ackon expressed disappointment at what he described as lack of commitment on the part of the government to curtail the counterfeiting, piracy and smuggling of textile products into the country.

He said following the government’s announcement of some policy directions in 2018 to, among others, establish a procurement policy, backed by legislation, to ensure that all government agencies procured their uniforms from the local industry, local textile companies invested heavily to upgrade their machinery to meet the expectations of the policy.

“Measures such as the introduction of the tax stamp on textile products, the single port of entry rule where textile products are to come through the Tema Port as the sole entry point, the setting up of a task force to monitor market activities, foreign textile restriction, among others, are yet to be implemented,” he stated.

Trade Ministry

Mr Ackon alleged that the Trade Ministry had stopped the previous anti-piracy task force from operating in the markets and warehouses and rather restricted them to only border duties, which “are not within our mandate, since border monitoring duties are the preserve of the security agencies”.

He said efforts by the leadership of the coalition to have audience with the ministry had been unsuccessful since March 2018.

Deputy Minister

A Deputy Minister of Trade, Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, however, told the Daily Graphic in a telephone interview that the government was working on the processes to get the policies in place.

He said although the procurement processes had been slow, “there are modalities in place to get the policies started in the ensuing months and we will communicate that to the group soon”.

He debunked suggestions that the ministry was encouraging the activities of smugglers, saying: “We know the implications of such activities, as they go to deny the state of the needed revenue, so what we are doing now is putting in place serious guidelines that will shape the industry forever”.

He also denied suggestions that the production of uniforms had been contracted to foreign firms which imported them into the country.

“We have not, as a government, contracted for production of any uniforms that came from outside to any entity. Rather, I am aware that uniforms being used by people under the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCO) programme were produced by ATL, a feat we hope to replicate in all sectorss to get the local textile sector to become an enabler of opportunities for young graduates and business people.

“So local producers should be rest assured that the government will address the challenges as soon as practicable,” Mr Ahenkorah said.

Source (online): https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/textile-workers-demand-govt-action-on-importation-of-new-school-uniforms.html

Source (offline): Daily Graphic issue No. 21079 of Tuesday September 3 2019, page 23

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