Ghana’s textiles industry which used to employ over 25,000 people has seen a decline in production since 2005, leading to massive lay off of workers due to the import of cheap Chinese textiles.
Currently, the industry is said to employ a little over 2,000 workers as it nears total collapse.
The woes of the industry started in the early 2000s when original designs made by Ghanaian textile companies were stolen and reproduced cheaply in China for the Ghanaian market.
The industry which had so much potential was pushed to its knees, as high cost of production and the influx of cheaper and pirated textiles from China left it helpless.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Marketing Director at GTP, Reverend Stephen Badu stated that the workforce in the industry has dropped by over 80 percent since 1985.
“In the 1980s and 1990s we had over 15 textile companies. Currently just three of us are now in active business, Textile limited, which is GTP, Printex and ATL. Now if you put the staff of the three companies together, we are less than 3,000,” he said.
The influx of cheap Chinese textiles hurt the industry such that by 2004, GTP had shut down some of its spinning and weaving departments, while the Ghana Textile and Manufacturing Company Limited (GTMC) shut down its production line in December the following year.
The situation got worse and today the local textile industry is almost no more.
Meanwhile, textile traders at the Rawlings Park, in Accra Central, which is home to textile stalls are blaming authorities for the influx of cheap Chinese textiles on the Ghanaian market.
They tell Citi Business News authorities must be blamed for the near collapse of the industry. They allege that authorities allow pirated and cheap textiles from China into the country.
But a worker in the textile industry and a member of the Taskforce Against Pirated Textiles, Francis Omare maintains that authorities are not the only people that are guilty for the near collapse of the industry.
“The traders must also be blamed because they know how these textiles get into the country and they are aware it’s illegal to purchase those pirated Chinese textiles,” he said.
In a bid to stop the imports of the pirated textiles, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen inaugurated a taskforce in early October, this year.
However, the import of cheap textiles still persists despite the vigilance.
*Courtesy Ghana’s Citi Business News