The government has secured private sector investment to revive the Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has said.
He said contrary to claims in certain quarters that the operations of ATL had grounded completely, the government was rather up to the task and the future looked good for ATL.
“You would recall that government had to intervene to save this company and, in addition to that, has been able to attract private sector investments to ensure that this particular company will go to the point where it started from’’, he told the staff when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo paid a working visit to the company last Thursday, as part of his three-day working visit to the Eastern Region.
Mr Kyerematen said, ‘‘when the current government took office, this company was literally on its knees, with the factory producing at less than 30 per cent of its capacity.
“By the time that we took over, the management of ATL had already decided that enough was enough, and that it was time for them, with all the investments that they had made, to say goodbye, that is why the government had to intervene”, he said.
Alluding to the fact that at full capacity, the ATL is able to employ 3,500 workers, the minister said this was a pointer to the fact that ATL was a strategic national asset, and gave an assurance that the government would not sit down for the company to collapse.
The trade minister revealed further that the government had decided to introduce a number of policy measures to deal with the challenges of the textile industry as a whole.
The policies include the introduction of tax stamps and the designation of a single import corridor. “So you cannot bring textiles into this country except through that designated corridor, which is through Tema”, he explained.
Mr Kyerematen referred to a situation in 2016 where even though 30 million yards of textile prints was imported into the country, only one container was declared as having gone through the Tema Harbour.
“It means that the rest were being smuggled in through the Eastern Corridor, so we can no longer tolerate this and that is why we are putting in a dedicated entry point,” he stated.
Additionally, the minister indicated that the government was providing stimulus packages and other support to the textile companies, and would also put in place a textile management import system, “so that those who are importing and are not declaring what they are importing will have this control management system where imports of textile prints will be managed centrally”, he stated.
When that was done, he said, pirated goods could be checked.
Mr Kyeremanten indicated further that President Akuffo-Addo had directed that, “we must take steps to encourage those factories outside, particularly in China, to relocate to Ghana.”
In that context, he said, the partners working with Ghana had invited some of the manufacturers to come to the country by the first week of December for discussions on the way forward.
The minister was convinced that with all these policy measures in place and with the President’s commitment and support, all the challenges of the textile industry would be a thing of the past.
“However, we would also ensure that we have a taskforce that will ensure that we all comply with all these policy measures, “ he stressed.