The Textile, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU) has rejected the stimulus package being offered by government to textile companies to help revive the industry.
In line with government’s promise in the 2017 budget, the Chief Director at the Trade and Industry Ministry, Dawarnoba Baeka, sent a circular to industry players on 3rd May asking them to submit a ‘request for expression of interest’ so they can benefit from a bailout.
“In line with its commitment to transform the industrial sector in Ghana, the government is introducing a stimulus package to support existing local industries to enhance their competitiveness and create jobs. In this regard, the Ministry first, thank you for showing interest in this programme and secondly invites your company to submit an Expression of Interest by completing the attached Diagnostic Tool Kit,” the memo said.
But General Secretary of the Ghana Federation of Labour who is also chairman of TGLEU Abraham Koomson told Joy news a stimulus package for the textiles industry will go to waste unless loopholes in the system are plugged.
He wants government to rather stop the pirating of local textiles as a way of reviving the industry.
“If government says they are going to give us a stimulus package, I think they are making a serious mistake. It will not yield any positive results. At the end of the day, because of the smuggling and counterfeiting, they cannot compete. So we want government to address the issue of smuggling,” he explained.
“The problem we have is the flooding of the market with these pirate goods which is making it very difficult for our industries to work. We have already passed the Easter season… But unfortunately nobody is bringing orders for us to print,” he lamented.
The textile industry has over the years been struggling resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. It employed more than 25,000 workers in the 1970s but now provides employment to only about 1500 people. The more than 130 million meters of fabric it produced have also reduced drastically to less than 30 million.
The influx of counterfeited versions of local designs from China has been blamed for the situation. In 2010, government set up an anti-textile piracy task force to deal with traders of counterfeit textiles as a way to keep the industry afloat. But the work of the taskforce has since been suspended.
The Textiles, Garments and Leather Workers Union has meanwhile written to the police announcing plans to picket at the premises of the Trade and Industry Ministry on 29th and 30th May to demand the revival of taskforce.
“Having exhausted the process of engagement with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) and failed to have the Anti Textile Piracy Taskforce re-instated…. The workers have resolved to picket at the forecourt of the MOTI to draw attention of government to this scary situation of joblessness and by this letter notify the police accordingly,” the letter said.
Mr. Koomson says the move is to draw the attention of the president and Ghanaians to the plight of workers in the textile industry whose jobs are on the line unless the sector is revived.
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