Nkoranza — The Bono East Regional Minister, Kwasi Adu-Gyan, has urged tailors and dressmakers to be creative and competitive in their fashion designs and styles to be able to penetrate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said this on Saturday at the First Annual Bono East Regional Conference of the Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Association (GNTDA), at Nkoranza on the theme, "clothing Africa beyond, the role of Bono East tailors and dressmakers."
The Regional Minister said the popular kaba and slit, caftan, smock and other attire sewed from kente and other local fabrics, could gain local and international recognition, to impact the economy.
He indicated that the free-trade zone had a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3.4 trillion dollars, which allowed products from member countries to be sold among themselves, with a reduction in tariffs and non -tariffs agreements.
Mr Adu-Gyan charged the leadership of the GNTDA to organise their members into cooperatives and groups, in order to equip them to take advantage of the numerous opportunities AfCTA offered.
The Regional Minister added that the focus of the association was in tune with the government's effort to make Ghana self-sufficient and net exporter of commodities, that the country had competitive advantage in.
"It is the vision of government to stem the importation of used cloths by empowering tailors and dressmakers, to produce and cloth Ghana, and to export to the international market to earn foreign exchange," he said.
Mr Adu-Gyan expressed worry about how Ghana, in 2020 alone imported 182 million dollars worth of used cloths, making it the largest importer of the product globally, where average taxes on it was 18.9 per cent.
The Bono East Regional Chairman for GNTDA, Samuel Asante Addo, disclosed that the association, formed in August, 2020, has trained over 2,000 youth in apprenticeship in the area.
Mr Addo noted that the beneficiaries were awarded with National Vocational Technical Institute (NVTI), and Council of Technical, Vocational Education Training (COTVET) certificates, which would enable them fit in any institution, to make impact.
He said the GNTDA shall develop a syllabus for the training of the youth within the National Employable Skill Training Scheme (NESTS), and organise seminars and workshops to improve the skills of their members.
The Regional Chairman appealed to Mr Adu-Gyan, Nananom, individuals, groups and other stakeholders, to help members of the Association with equipment and financial support, especially the young persons in the profession.