The Ministry of Trade and Industry has set up a 17-member national task force to clamp down on the activities of pirates in the local textile industry. The stakeholder ministries are Defence, Trade and Industry and National Security, as well as the security agencies.
The task force, which is chaired by Mr Sumani Mahamadu, the representative of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has representatives from the 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.
The task force, among other things, has the mandate to increase monitoring at the country’s borders, particularly the eastern border at Aflao, to prevent the illegal importation of pirated textiles.
It is also to visit warehouses suspected of containing smuggled or pirated goods and follow due processes to confiscate them.
It is, however, not expected to extend its monitoring activities to market centres.
‘No more piracy’
Speaking at the inauguration of the task force in Accra on Wednesday, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, charged the members to deal ruthlessly with persons whose negative activities were undermining the growth of the local textile industry.
“The negative agents are operating with new strategies, but as the sector minister, I cannot preside over negative activities by pirates that are depriving the country of the required revenue.
“The fight against piracy and the illegal activities of some persons in the textile industry is a major fight that must be tackled with tact and commitment, just like the war on illegal mining,” he stressed.
Touching on the need to leave nothing to chance in clamping down on illegalities in the textile industry, Mr Kyerematen said the government had a comprehensive approach to weed out such activities.
“If you want to deal with negative forces like those in the textile industry, such forces will also be regrouping, and so the government will work with the security agencies to tackle the issues in a pragmatic manner,” he said.
“For now, we want the task force to focus on the eastern border. Do not extend your activities to the market centres because there will be other measures to sanitise the markets while you focus on the borders,” he urged the task force.
Mr Kyerematen said more measures would be rolled out to sustain the fight against piracy and other unacceptable practices in the local textile industry as a way to revamp local textile manufacturing companies.
He observed that it was only when those negative activities were held in check that local and foreign investors would be attracted to the local textile industry.
While accepting the challenge to lead the task force, Mr Mahamadu underscored the need for operators in the textile industry to collaborate with the task force to weed out the criminal elements.
The new task force replaces an earlier one set up by the Trade Ministry in August 2010 in response to calls, petitions and consultations initiated by the Textile, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU) and other stakeholders.
It had the mandate to curb the illegal importation of pirated Ghanaian textile prints and was made up of representatives from the National Security, the Customs Division of the GRA, the Trade Ministry, GUTA and other stakeholders.
Since the change in the political administration on January 7, this year, the operations of that task force had stalled, giving space for the pirates to increase their activities.