20 February 2014

Ghana: Textile Firm's Future Hangs in the Balance

Accra — GHANA'S Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL) is on the brink of collapse due to cheap imports from Asia.

The Human Resources Manager of the company, Ebenezer Kwasi Darko, explained the situation had compelled management of the company to cut 350 jobs.

Its workforces now stands at 1 250.

He said the flurry of goods from China and India had also brought about low patronage of their products, which he said were more fashionable and of better quality than the cheap fabric imports.

He therefore called on the government as a matter of urgency to put some control measures at the country's ports and other entry points to check smuggling of textiles into the country in order to save the local companies from collapsing.

Darko says, ATL is not calling for the banning of importation of foreign textiles but explains that, the smugglers have a responsibility to stop their criminal act and pay the right taxes and duty to make the playing field level to engender competition.

“A ban does not give the consumer the right of choice and we also believe that it is not everybody who can afford every textile on the market because of the prices, but let us have a fair competition,” he emphasised.

He said there was the need for the government to ensure a level playing field in the textile industry before the local industries collapsed.

The General Manager of the company, Lau Arthur, stated among other things that, the importers of the pirated textiles did not only evade taxes on imported textile prints but do not provide adequate labelling information on country of origin.

He said, based on the price and texture of the print, buyers could distinguish between the substandard and the genuine textiles since the former is cheaper and usually hard, while the latter is soft and a little costly.

He noted that more than 9 600 people depended on the company for survival.

“If care is not taken and the unfortunate happens, all those people will be in serious trouble,” said Arthur.

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