The Textile, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU) has suggested to government to address challenges confronting the country's textile industry before thinking of revamping its defunct factories.
Mr. Ibraham Koomson, General Secretary of TGLEU said government would be throwing the taxpayer's money into the drain in its effort to revive some of the defunct textile industries without first addressing challenges that caused the collapse of those industries.
Addressing stakeholders in the Textile and Garment industry in Accra on Thursday, Mr. Koomson noted that issues of pirating of Ghanaian designs and the dumping of cheap textile materials from China were affecting the growth and progress of the local industry.
He said the industry in the 1970’s provided jobs for 25,000 workers but was now only able to provide less than 3,000 jobs for the youth.
The TGLEU General Secretary appealed to the government to enforce its laws on the importation of textiles, especially its directive that the Takoradi Port should be the only entry point for textiles importation into the country.
He said it had come to the notice of the Union that textiles were now being imported into Ghana through the Tema Port and Aflao border, thereby denying Ghana the appropriate revenue.
Madam Edwina Assan, President of Spinnet Textile and Garment Cluster, said her organisation was advocating for standards in the textile and garment industry and called on stakeholders to support it to achieve its goals.
She said some years past, Ghana was leading in the textile industry but noted that the industry was now suffering and was unable to provide the needed jobs for the youth.
Madam Assan urged government to equip the state agencies involved in safeguarding the textile industry to deliver on their mandate.
She said the future of the industry was bleak and expressed the fear that sooner or later Ghana was likely to depend on the importation of textiles rather than manufacturing them in the country.
Madam Assan appealed to government to reduce the importation of textiles as well as advocate for standards to help check the dumping of cheap textiles from other countries.
“The lack of standardisation in the textile and garment industry has led to unfair competition from cheap imports”, Madam Assan noted.
Some of the participants at the workshop urged government to ban importation of textiles into Ghana and rather encourage the local industry to promote production of the commodity.
They said those of them who had taken loans from micro financing institutions were paying an interest rate of six per cent per month and 72 per cent per year to undertake their ventures and that the dumping of cheap materials from China and other countries was affecting their businesses.
The Spinnet Textile and Garment Cluster in conjuction with the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) organised the two-day workshop to create a platform for stakeholders to dialogue on the issues of minimum standard for the industry and its effect on the local industry.
The forum was also aimed to build consensus and support from members and other industry players for the success of the programme, as well as gather information from industry actors on creative ways to resolving the challenges.
The BUSAC Fund sponsored by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and European Union, sponsored the workshop.