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Local manufacturers control only 30% of African print market

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
Some African prints
Some African prints

Local manufacturers of African prints control only 30 per cent of the US$200 million market in the country.

This translates into US$60 million, with the remaining US$140 million being controlled by imported prints.

This was disclosed by the Marketing Director the Ghana Textile Print Company Limited (GTP), Mr Stephen Badu, in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on the sidelines of a roundtable luncheon between the Dubai Chamber International Office, Ghana, and the fashion and textile retail industry.

“The African print market is growing because people are now increasingly patronising prints.

The market is estimated at US$200 million, translating into 120 million yards in terms of volume,” he said.

Unfortunately, he said majority of them are the smuggled ones which are usually cheap and pushing the local manufacturers out of business.

“Out of the about 13 factories in the early 90s, there are only three remaining now.

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Even with the three remaining, we are struggling due to the unfair competition from importers of other African prints,” he stated.

Piracy

Pointing out some of the challenges of the sector, he said piracy remained one of the biggest challenges of the sector.

“We are in the business of selling designs and colours so anytime somebody takes your colours and design and manages to print it on a much cheaper gray and smuggles them into the country, it really affects you,” he noted.

“Apart from the short-term damage to our sales, in the medium to long-term, they hurt us more because we cannot guarantee and vouch for the kind of the colour pastures they are using which may affect our brand,” he added.

Smuggling

Mr Badu also noted that smuggling was also a big challenge faced by the sector.

“I can assure you that the bulk of imported fabrics into the country are smuggled.

Records from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Revenue Authority pointed out that in 2017, only one container of fabric was imported into the country,” he pointed out.

“But when you go to the market and visit any fabric shop, at a glance I can tell you that 70 to 80 per cent of the products you find on the shelves are imported so how did they come into the country if not through smuggling?” he asked.

“For imported fabrics, the import duty alone is 35 per cent plus so many other taxes and levies and when you add it all, it’s close to about 70 per cent so if the importers are paying the right duties, we will be able to compete fairly on price,” he stated.

Government initiatives

The marketing director was ,however, hopeful that some measures that had been introduced by the government could help revive the sector when fully implemented.

The measures include the zero rating of VAT on the supply of locally manufactured textiles for a period of three years, the introduction of tax stamps for textiles and the use of a single port for all textiles.

“These measures, when fully implemented, will expand the industry,” he said.

Untapped potential

The Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Chamber Ghana, Mr Cyril Darkwa, for his part said the chamber was seeing a lot of untapped potential for expanding the Dubai-Ghana bilateral non-oil trade beyond the US$1.2 billion accounted for in 2017.

He said retail, fashion and textile were among the key sectors where bilateral trade and investment flows could be increased, as these areas had grown significantly in both markets over the last few decades.

“Shopping malls are springing up across cities in Ghana, attracting international retail chains and providing a boost to local construction companies.

Meanwhile, Dubai remains the most attractive market in the Middle East region for retailers, with many using the emirate as a ‘launch pad’ for regional expansion,” he said.

“Over the next few years, a significant amount of retail space will be added in Dubai as the emirate gears up to host Expo 2020 and accommodate 20 million visitors per year by that timeframe.

These plans are creating plenty of business opportunities that Ghanaian retailers can benefit from,” he added.

He said the chamber was ,therefore, committed to providing guidance and assistance to Ghanaian companies that are keen to enter the Dubai market, while it also identifies business opportunities in Ghana that are of interest to Dubai Chamber members.