The ministry of trade and industry has assured Ghanaian business men who import textiles that its new textile stamp was not anti import policy.
The ministry maintained that it is not against imports but wants to ensure that textile companies such as Akosombo Textile Limited, Printex, GTP among others are not pushed out of business due to pirated textiles.
To this end, the ministry has embarked on a nationwide sensitization program to educate retailers in the textile business and stakeholders.
The reason for the sensitization, the ministry explained, was to sanitized the industry for the benefit of both sector players and the government. The government cannot just let go what the country had already, the ministry said.
Speaking to the media in Tamale during his working visit, the deputy minister, Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsey, stated that the program cannot be tagged as anti import because about 70% of all textiles in Ghana are imported when in fact companies in Ghana can produce same.
According to the minister, only one container was cleared for textiles per government records in 2017 which means there is huge smuggling problem hurting Ghana’s finances. The tax stamp policy the minister explained will ensure every single piece of six yards sold in Ghana will have a unique number embossed on it.
The policy, he said, will help prevent people sending local textile companies who invest heavily in designing out of business.
The stamp comes with two colored coded different tax stamps which will show retailers and consumers whether it is manufactured in Ghana or imported and the tax paid on it.
Mr Ahonka allayed fears of retailers that the policy may come at a cost and consumers will have to bear it. "It is free, it will not cost the consumer a pesewa," he said.
Revamping cotton industry
Over 30 thousand people used to work in the textiles industry in the 1980s but now less 1,500 are in the industry. The policy Mr Ahonka said will encourage manufacturers to start manufacturing and at the end cotton farmers will be encouraged to go into cotton cultivation.
The government he added will provide incentives to the local manufacturing companies which culminate in high demand for raw materials.
Taskforce to inspect shops in November
A Task-force will by the middle of November visit shops in Tamale to inspect the textiles with tax stamps. The Taskforce will provide free tax stamps on goods at stock and retailers will adhered to the directives.
After the inspection, retailers are advised not to trade in textiles without the tax stamps.
Every textile will have tax stamps on it and after 3 months, retailers deliberately dealing with textiles without the stamps will arrested and surcharged to pay 3 times the payable tax or in default go to jail for not less than five years.
Ghana’s Porous boarders
Most of the imported textiles into Ghana pass through unapproved entry points. But Mr Ahonka-Linsey assured that Customs, the police and the immigration service have been involved in the policy and measures are being put in place to address the issue.
According to him, the coding system being introduced has provided a special mobile App containing more details of the consumer.
As part of the measures under the new import regime, all importation of textiles will come through the Tema port.
Technology and illiteracy level among Ghanaians
Responding to concerns raised by a representative of Ghana Shippers Authority on the level of both retailers and consumers knowledge on the scratch and text system, the deputy trade and industry minister said the ministry is taking note of the issue and will discuss it with ICT Companies. He welcome suggestions for symbols which will make it easier instead of the coding.