Labor statistics indicate that over the past forty years the number of people employed by the local textile industry in Ghana has declined to 2,500 from 25,000. A number of factors, including increased competition from foreign companies, smuggling of textiles from abroad, and the influx of pirated goods onto the local market have contributed to this result. The last factor is having a particularly deleterious effect on the industry; consequently there have recently been protests on the streets of Accra by local textile workers to express their concern.
Depending on whom you ask, reaction to the phenomenon of pirated textiles can vary. These products tend to be cheaper compared to locally manufactured ones, thus, textile traders, hoping for fast turnovers, patronize these imitation goods. Naturally, some customers are also not loth to buy these pirated goods, for price reasons--some of these buyers say they would buy the Ghana-made textiles if prices were cheaper.
Appearance-wise, the local and pirated textiles can be similar to the unwary buyer. Texture can an important discriminator in checking the genuineness of a fabric. Secondly, the local textiles typically have two labels, one bearing the particular company brand and the other bearing a logo of a national standards board. The pirated ones tend not to have any labels and do not indicate the country of origin, which some people believe to be China. The local textiles on the other hand show their "Made in Ghana" logos prominently.
High production costs invariably forces local textiles manufacturers to charge high prices for their products. Prohibitively high cost of capital, expensive production materials (some of which must be imported using dollars) and ever-increasing cost of utilities necessitate that manufacturers pass extra charges to the consumer, who in turn, understandably, opts for the lower-priced pirated goods. Continuing the domino effect, some retailers shy away from locally-produced textiles in response to complaints from customers about high prices.
A multi-fronted approach is required to revitalize the local textile industry. Genuine efforts must be made by customs authorities to impede the entry of fake textiles into the country. The Anti-Piracy Act must be enforced more strictly and those that fall afoul it should be prosecuted. Equally importantly, appropriate subsidies or incentives should be available to local manufacturers to enhance the competitiveness of their products price-wise. Any other tepid approach will likely to fail to stop the piracy trend, and the local industry textile will continue to falter.