The General Secretary of the Textiles, Garments and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU), Mr Abraham Koomson, has described the task force that was reconstituted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to fight piracy in the textile industry as stillborn.
The reconstituted task force, among others, is charged to increase monitoring at the country’s borders, particularly the eastern border at Aflao, to prevent the illegal importation of pirated textiles.
The task force is, however, not to extend its monitoring activities to market centres.
Mr Koomson said the task force was dead on arrival because its mandate did not serve the interest of local textile manufacturers.
"The members of the task force will be like toothless dogs because they have been cautioned not to go to the markets to check piracy; meanwhile, that is the point of sale of the pirated products.
"We see this directive as a hypocritical stand because you cannot say you are fighting illegal activities in the textiles industry and restrict the task force from entering the market because there are big toes that will be stepped on," he stressed in an interview with the Daily Graphic last Saturday.
Mr Koomson said the unilateral decision of the Trade Ministry to design guidelines for the task force in spite of the grave concerns raised by TGLEU and the local manufacturers was unacceptable.
"By the arrangements, the textile manufacturers are to pay for the activities of the task force members so they ought to be involved in all the processes so that they will know what they are paying for.
"When the task force was constituted in 2010, the guidelines were jointly developed by employers, TGLEU and the Ministry of Trade and Industry and so everyone felt involved and that accounted for the successes that were achieved," he said.
The representatives of the manufacturing companies, such as Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), Printex Ghana Limited and Tex Style Limited, failed to turn up for the inauguration of the task force last Thursday.
Mr Koomson said the boycott was a strong indication that they were not in support of the unilateral decision of the ministry.
He said the turn of events meant that the woes of the local textile industry would be deepened and that some were likely to fold up due to unfavourable conditions.
"I will also state that the posture of the Trade Ministry defeats the government's policy of creating conditions that will help local investors and companies to expand," he said.
He called on the government to properly engage the manufacturers, as well as a review of the terms of reference of the task force, particularly the portion that disallows members of the task force from operating in the markets.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has reconstituted a 17-member national anti-piracy task force to clamp down on the activities of pirates in the textile industry.
The stakeholder ministries are Defence, Trade and Industry and National Security, as well as the security agencies.
The task force is comprised of representatives of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Registrar-General’s Department, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) and local textile manufacturing companies.