The Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL) is currently not in a situation that can be described as facing the risk of total collapse, Mr John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry, assured Parliament on Wednesday, in Accra.
He added that the government had taken concrete actions to restore the ATL to its glorious days as a veritable source of employment and income generation for the people in the Asuogyaman and surrounding communities.
The minister gave the assurance, in response to a parliamentary question, standing in the name of Mr Thomas Ampem Nyarko MP for Asuogyaman that sought to know whether the ministry had “any plans for saving the ATL from total collapse”.
Mr Kyerematen said a cabinet decision in June 2018 that granted approval for the ministry to take over and revamp the operations of the company under a transitional arrangement, while searching for a strategic investor to turn around the fortunes of the company, is yielding positive results.
That arrangement, led to injection of GH¢17 million into the company’s operations at a subsidised interest rate by the Prudential Bank Limited, in addition to implementation of a comprehensive stimulus package.
“As a result of this timely intervention, the company upgraded its machinery, identified new export markets and improved it overall operational efficiency.
“Critical machinery for textiles production particularly digital screen engravers and image plotters, which were nearly 20 years old and obsolete, were completely replaced in March 2019 with state-of the-art machines.
“The company is also introducing cost-saving measures to regain competiveness,” Mr Kyerematen said, and assured Ghanaians that the company would next September install new and efficient Biomass Boilers that would reduce energy costs of the factory by 50 per cent.
Additionally, a new management team put in place is working to increase production from the current level of two million yards of fabric a year to five million yards; and more engineering and sales staff had been recruited to take up senior and supervisory roles, with a resultant revamping of the textile design and production operations, as well as the marketing portfolio of the company.
According to the minister, the company was aggressively pursuing an international sales promotion and had established relations with trading companies in Nigeria, Benin, Brussels, the United States of America and the United Kingdom in order to step up export sales, and promote made-in Ghana textiles and clothing.
The company is also benefiting from a three-year tax exemption Value Added Tax (VAT), import duty waiver and concession on raw materials import and deferred VAT payments on imports to improve the cash flow situation of textile manufacturing companies.
Other policy measures approved by cabinet which are being introduced specifically to support local textile industries are the introduction of tax stamps for locally manufactured and imported textiles to address the problem of pirated and smuggled imported textile products, designation of Tema Port as the single entry corridor for imported textiles products, the implementation of Textile Import Management System to improve the coordination of the textiles trade (including vetting of designs and logos); and the execution of a special market surveillance to monitor importers and assess the levels of compliance with new policy measures.
Established in 1967 as part of the Cha Textile Group of Companies, the ATL, with an initial workforce of around 500, employed 1,650 people at the peak of its operations in the 1980s.
It currently employs 780 people and has spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing and finishing capacity, all on one site.GNA