Track Down textile smugglers ( Tuesday Dec 1 pg 3)

THE Textile, Garment and Leather Employees Union has(TEGLEU) appealed to the government to set up task force to track down the activities of Chinese textile smugglers and bring them to book.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on arresting textile smuggling in the country, a General Secretary of the Ghana Federation of Labour, Mr Benjamin Mingle, said the task force which should comprise of the representatives of the security agencies, Ghana Standard Board (GSB), the local manufacturers and the Trade Union should conduct periodic checks at the point of sales of these smuggled products with the aim of arresting the culprits and confiscating goods smuggled into the country in view of the dangerous economic implications of the activities of the traders.
Citing a Daily Graphic Publication of Monday, November 30, 2009, as an example, he said apart from copying designs and brand, names of local companies were boldly embossed on the fake prints smuggled into the country to deceive unsuspecting customers to think that the fabrics were locally produced.
He said workers in the textile industry lived in constant fear of losing their jobs because of the illegal activities of some Chinese merchants who aggravated the woes of the industry.
He said the workers were justified in their fears because for a sector that employed close to 25,000 workers in the 1970s to have only 3,000 workers today should give every true Ghanaian some cause for concern.
“That aside, the the state always lost revenue of more than GHC 400,000 annually”, he added.
He stated that even though the police and the Custom Exercise and Preventive Service (CEPS) were doing their best to deal with the situation, the unco-ordinated operations of the two security agencies made their efforts ineffective and inefficient.
He said the wide disparities in pricing between the Ghanaian textiles and those of the Chinese also put the Ghanaian textile producers at a disadvantage.
He stated that the Ghanaian textile industry could not compete effectively with the Chinese because of high cost of raw materials, high interest rates , high energy cost and a high tax obligation that accounted for close to 40 per cent of the Ghanaian manufacturers production cost.
The solution to the problem, Mr Mingle indicated, was contained in the Revenue Agencies Governing Board ( RAGB) report dated 25th August, 2003, which, among other things, recommended an immediate temporary restriction on the importation of all finished printed textile goods into the country, streamlining, and mounting surveillance on the activities of the destination inspecting companies, seizure of goods without the necessary import duties, ensuring that imports were restricted to approved entry points among other recommendations.

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