By Isaac Aidoo
Government has directed that with effect from September 2 this year all textile importsÂ
into the country should be done through only three approved routes: the KotokaÂ
International Airport (KIA), and the Takoradi and Tema ports.Â
All importers of African prints were also directed to declare and make known to the Ghana
Standards Authority (GSA) ports of entry of any consignments prior to importation.
These directives were issued by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu,Â
when he inaugurated a task force on seizure and disposal of pirated Ghanaian textileÂ
designs and a vetting committee on the importation of African textile prints in AccraÂ
The task force is a re-constituted one with new representation from the Ghana Union ofÂ
Traders (GUTA), the National Security Council and the Ghana National Chamber ofÂ
Commerce and Industry (GNCCI)
The objective of the task force is to curb the menace of illegal importation of printedÂ
Ghanaian textile prints and to ensure that importers who engage in the nefarious activities
are brought to book.
â€œThe mandate of the vetting committee as inaugurated today is to ensure that there isÂ
zero tolerance for illegal importation of printed pirated Ghanaian textiles,â€ the ministerÂ
The minister further directed all importers of African prints to register with the RegistrarGeneralâ€™s Department, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) and submit monthlyÂ
returns on their imports of African prints.
â€œAll importers of African prints shall register with the Ghana Standards Authority and shall
present samples of the African prints to be imported to the authority for patternÂ
approval,â€ the minister directed.
â€œImported African prints shall with immediate effect be regarded as high-risk goods andÂ
shall be subjected to 100% physical examination to be jointly conducted by officers fromÂ
the Customs Excise and Preventive service (CEPS) and the Ghana Standards AuthorityÂ
(GSA),â€ Mr Iddrisu stated.
Mr Iddrisu reminded members of the committee of provisions under the World TradeÂ
Organisation Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), whereÂ
governments had the obligation to take special border measures to prevent the piracy ofÂ
â€œThe TRIPS agreement mandates governments not to allow infringed goods to enter theÂ
channel of commerce and also not to allow the re-exportation of such goods,â€ he added.
The sector minister disclosed that the training programmes had been organised inÂ
Takoradi, Ho, Accra and Tamale to equip staff of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA),Â
customs division, to differentiate between pirated and genuine textiles.â€œIn addition the task force has embarked on sensitisation of traders and the general public
on the effects of the nefarious activities of traders who smuggle African textile prints intoÂ
Ghana,â€ he added.
By George Koomson
The ghost of the wild overshooting of the 2012 budget by the National DemocraticÂ
Congress (NDC) government has wasted no time in coming back to haunt President
John Dramani Mahamaâ€™s government, yet to complete its first six months in office.
Mondayâ€™s violent demonstration at Ashaiman over repeated promises to fix theÂ
municipalityâ€™s roads was the latest and the most dramatic of paybacks for the NDCÂ
government for proverbially eating the goose that laid the golden egg.
Or to paraphrase the President, for consuming the meat till only the bone is left.Â
Right from the moment it took office, the government has been confronted withÂ
demands by teachers, doctors and contractors, which have been carried over fromÂ
the previous year or years.
But fresh demands have also come from party foot soldiers who say promises ofÂ
jobs and small contracts have not been forthcoming.
This picture of scarcity contrasts sharply with the electioneering era of plenty,Â
characterised by free laptops, supply of mini saloon cars, huge billboards, andÂ
The connection between the few months of plenty and the current difficulty ofÂ
government in meeting pressing social and economic demands has been hinted atÂ
by some; but what has been accepted officially is that there was huge overexpenditure by some government ministries and agencies in the few months to theÂ
Accounts of pro-government groups taking cash from state agencies under theÂ
guise of fund raising come close to offering some explanation, but the full story isÂ
yet to be told.
What is not in doubt is the fact that the level of deficit carried over from last yearÂ
has substantially reduced the governmentâ€™s financial space as it managed toÂ
overspend the 2012 budget, whose threshold had already been raised by aÂ
supplementary budget approved only in July 2012, by a record GHâ‚µ8.7 billion.
As a demonstration of the governmentâ€™s difficulties in meeting its expenditure, theÂ
case of the Ashaiman roads presents an interesting case study.
This is a road that has witnessed a lot of rhetoric but little action.Â
The people of Ashaiman have regularly been promised that the road would be done.
The then Minister of Roads and Highways, Joseph Kingsford Gidisu and the MP forÂ
Ashaiman, Alfred Kwame Agbesia had jointly mounted the platform more than onceÂ
to assure the people that the road would be fixed before last December.
Indeed, last July, Mr Gidisu terminated the contract of Lomex Construction, theÂ
contractor who was working on the road.Mr Gidisu based his termination of the Lomex contract on what he described asÂ
â€œineffectiveness and non-performanceâ€ on the part of Lomex.
A new company, Legna Construction Limited, was then contracted to construct theÂ
5.7-kilometre Ashaiman Timber Market Roundabout-Adjei-Kojo underpass dualÂ
However, by October last year Legna Engineering was already demanding arrearsÂ
for work it had earlier done in Tema.