The inauguration of a task force by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, in October last year to check the piracy of textiles in the country was a very positive move to stem the illegal sale of textiles on our markets.
An otherwise laudable initiative to free the textiles sector of undesirable elements has, nonetheless, become stillborn as a result of a turf war between textile industries and the Ministry of Trade.
The Daily Graphic is of the view that such a little misunderstanding could be ironed out easily between the two parties without allowing it to stretch longer than the six months that the problem has been allowed to go on.
One thing of which we must not lose sight is that while the ministry and textile companies continue to hold entrenched positions, the pirates continue to enjoy a field day, to the detriment of the whole industry.
That said, we believe that it will not hurt if the two sides come to a compromise for the common good of the industry and the country.
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The Daily Graphic posits that the 17-member anti-textile piracy task force must be allowed to operate in both the markets where the goods eventually end up and at the ports and the borders.
That way, pirated textiles will not be allowed to enter the country, while those that have already found their way to warehouses and our markets will be fished out to give respite to the local industry.
We do agree that the main source of the problem – the entry points – must be decisively dealt with, but we cannot gloss over the fact that some pirates will always find ways to outwit the task force to make illegal textiles available on markets across the country.
Ghana’s textile industry used to be very vibrant and still has a little niche in the West African sub-region, especially, and we need to protect that at all cost if we are to prevent the whole industry from collapsing.
We urge the government to show leadership by listening to the concerns of the textile companies and taking appropriate steps to save the industry from a total breakdown.
Instead of engaging in an unending cycle of whose demands must be adhered to, we ask the Ministry of Trade and Industry, headed by Mr Kyerematen, to push for the formulation of policies that will ultimately make locally made textiles more affordable than pirated ones.
The Daily Graphic believes that it is because the pirated textiles are cheaper and are patronised that the practice of piracy still persists.
Once the locally made high quality fabrics are made affordable to the average Ghanaian, we are sure that half of the battle against piracy would be won.
Let us, therefore, end the stalemate and put the task force to work; but, more importantly, let us remove trade barriers and killer taxes that force the local industry to price their textiles high to stay in business.
We also plead with workers in the textile industry to exercise restraint and re-engage the trade ministry on the issue in the quest to review the rules of engagement.