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Ghana: Woes of the slumping textiles industry

Source : Ghanaian Chronicle

The 2004 state of Economic Report indicates that major producers in the textiles sectors were crippled by strikes.

The report released by the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research said this compounded the limitation of access to credit and smuggling activities of foreign exporters.

Other problems the textile industry face include high interest rate and high cost of production which foreign exporters take advantage of and flood the market with cheap imports from China, thus throwing some Ghanaian textiles businesses off balance.

Some cheaper, pirated textiles prints that originated from Ghana were smuggled in, compounding the already bad situation of the sector.

Textile Companies, including the Akosombo Textile Ltd had to cut down production and import cheaper product to sell.

Juapong Textiles was reported to be on the way to collapse at the end of 2004 and finally collapsed in March 2005. Over thousands of workers were sent home, the report said, and a total production of textiles fell significantly from 130 million meters annually in the 1970s to 39million meters in 2004. The sector’s labour force reduced considerably from 25,000 in1980 to 3,000.

The textiles sub sector is however one of the presidential special initiatives (PSIs) and stands to benefit from the African growth and Opportunity Act.

The state of the economic report said some investors from Asia have already expressed the desire to invest in the sector and about 12 medium size Ghanaian firms have been set up, over 10,000 operators have been trained to man the garments sectors and this number exceeded the projection for 2004.

The report concluded that, even though it is too early to access the impact of all these measures, it is clear that the textiles industry is at a slump.

In an interview with a member of the textile union of Ghana, he said it was not true Ghanaian textiles firms were collapsing because of foreign textiles, and attributed it to the high cost of labor.” The so called textiles firms in Ghana do their print from Chin,” he said.

Chinese textiles are not as cheap as people say; they are of higher quality than Ghana’s and are of the best quality.

According to him, designs of these textiles firms in Ghana were produced here but the fabrics themselves were made in China.

The machines and equipment are outmoded; no maintenance was made and no fresh training was embarked on to enhance the skills of the workers.


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