The government and stakeholders in the textile industry have agreed on a road map for the implementation of policy interventions against the importation of fake textile products and other unfair practices that have stifled the growth of local companies in the sector.
The road map starts with the signing of a document on Friday that will allow for the implementation of a textile tax stamp policy.
The road map was arrived at when the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, held a meeting with key stakeholders in the sector in Accra last Friday.
They comprised the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), the Ministry of Finance, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Coalition of Textile Workers (CTW).
The General Secretary of the CTW, Mr John Abeka, said the parties agreed on the September 13 timeline to sign a contract for the production of tax stamps to be affixed on all textile prints in the country.
The textile tax stamp policy requires textile manufacturers, importers and traders to ensure that approved stamps bearing key security features by the Ministry of Finance are affixed on their textile prints before they are traded.
It is meant to prevent tax evasion at the ports and also check against the dumping of fake and pirated products on the local market.
When the policy comes into force, it will be illegal for any manufacturer or importer to send textile prints to the market without the approved tax stamps.
As part of the road map, the Tema Port will be the single window for the importation of textile products into the country.
Mr Abeka, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in an interview last Saturday, said the parties also agreed that the private company that had been contracted to produce the tax stamps should do so within two weeks.
He explained that as soon as the tax stamps were affixed on the products, other policy interventions, such as the use of the Tema Port as the single corridor for the importation of textile products, a vetting committee for textile products and a taskforce on anti-textile piracy, would also begin.
The meeting was convened by Mr Kyerematen to address the nagging challenges facing textile companies.
It came on the heels of a one-week ultimatum that the CTW gave the government to implement those policy interventions.
At a press conference held in Accra on September 2, the coalition threatened to take to the streets if the government failed to implement the interventions to save their companies.
The CTW, made up of workers of the Akosombo Textiles Limited, the Tex Styles Ghaan Limited (Ghana Textiles Printing) Printex and the Volta Star, had stressed that the delay in implementing those interventions had caused their businesses to suffocate in the hands of unfair trade practices.
Mr Abeka said Mr Kyerematen’s demeanour at the meeting showed that he was ready go all out to implement the tax stamp policy.
“The minister showed us a policy document on the tax stamp that had approval from Parliament and was now left with the four parties to sign for the tax stamps to be produced. In fact, he was even ready to sign his portion of the agreement the day we held the meeting.
“We agreed that all parties will sign the document latest by Friday, after which local companies and importers will make requests for the private company to know the quantity of tax stamps to print,” he added.
For his part, the Director of Communications for the CTW, Mr Michael Anglaman, said although the minister had given the strongest indication at the meeting to ensure that the tax stamp policy came into force, the coalition would be measured in its expectations.
“There have been many occasions on which we were given assurances which did not materialise, so we will wait for Friday to see what will happen. If the timelines are not followed, we will definitely take other actions,” he said.
Efforts made by the Daily Graphic to speak to Mr Kyerematen were not successful, as he did not answer phone calls placed to him.
When the Head of Public Relations at the MoTI was contacted, he confirmed that the meeting had taken place but did not disclose the details.
Source : Graphic.com.gh