Piracy still affecting textile business
Despite government’s efforts to stop piracy in the country, textile companies are still lamenting the impact on their operations of pirated textiles smuggled into the country.
The Managing Director of Ghana Textile Prints (GTP) Kofi Boateng said: “It is true that government has set up an anti-piracy task force, but the problem is so large — to an extent that the efforts of government are not having any meaningful impact, though they have scared a few people.
“Our designs, labels and copyrights are being imitated by some people from the Far East. They then print and bring them back onto the Ghanaian market. So we now have to employ more young but experienced creative people so that we can have thousands of designs and colours on a monthly basis in order to survive and compete well,” he said.
The once-vibrant Ghanaian textile industry is at a cross-road due to importation of cheap, pirated textiles that make original textile designs manufactured in Ghana relatively expensive.
There were about 20 textile companies which employed about 25,000 in the 1980s. But currently there is a remnant of just four textile companies employing under 2,000 people, battling to stay in business amid a myriad of challenges.
Even surviving companies Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL), Tex Style Ghana Limited (GTP), Printex and Ghana Textile Manufacturing Company (GTMC) are struggling in the face of competition from cheap, pirated imports.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has said it is not against the importation of fabrics so far as they are not fake in terms of design, brand-name and other characteristics.
The illegal business has in recent years led to the retrenchment of many textile workers, while some local manufacturers have had to diversify their businesses.
The task force team since its establishment in 2010 has undertaken many different destruction exercises, with a total 6,000 pieces of Ghanaian-designed fake textiles destroyed.
The textile designs were seized during operations by the task force at various outlets across the country.
John Kwesi Amoah, Assistant Manager Brand Protection ATL, noted that: “We want fair competition; we are not saying that government should ban people from importing textiles, but we want fair competition. People should come with their own design and brand”.