The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says the 17-member task force set up by the Trade Ministry to clamp down on the activities of pirates in the local textile industry is a hoax.
The Associations is citing lack of proper consultation before the move.
The new task force, among other things, is mandated to increase monitoring at the country’s borders, especially the eastern border at Aflao, to prevent the importation of pirated textiles.
It is also tasked to visit warehouses suspected of containing smuggled or pirated goods and follow due processes to confiscate them.
However, the team is not expected to extend its monitoring activities to market centres.
GUTA is unhappy with the move saying the taskforce will not achieve much with such restrictions.
General Secretary of the Association, Mr. Abraham Koomson, in an interview said the Trade Ministry did not consult the manufacturers, who are the most affected by the illegal activities.
“The mandate and guidelines are wrong, because how can you ask them to only operate at the eastern border when in fact these importers bring the products through other borders. How can you also ask them not to go into the market centres when that is where the goods are kept and sold?” Koomson questioned.
The Trade Minister, Mr Alan Kyerematen, at the inauguration of the taskforce, charged the members to deal ruthlessly with persons whose negative activities are undermining the growth of the local textile industry.
But Koomson believes the statement is just a mockery and that the team can never solve the piracy problem, given their current mandate.
“If the key stakeholders, being the manufacturers, did not show up there, it sends a signal to them that the taskforce will not work. It is the manufacturers who pay for the activities of the team and so if they are not included then it will never work,” he added.
The new task force replaces an earlier one set up by the Trade Ministry in August 2010 to curb the illegal importation of pirated Ghanaian textile prints.
It is made up of personnel from the National Security, the Customs Division of the GRA, the Trade Ministry, GUTA and other stakeholders.
By Nana Oye Ankrah