The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, has begun implementing an action plan to fight counterfeit and illicit trade in the country.
The action plan, which will be focusing on especially the textile and pharmaceutical industries, is themed ‘Advocacy to Combat Counterfeit and Illicit Trade.’
Speaking at a media briefing in Accra, the Project Manager of the plan, Mr Charles Asante-Bempong, said the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy poses a variety of threats to businesses operating in the country.
According to him, “many industries have collapsed in Ghana due to counterfeiting, piracy and infringements of intellectual property rights. Local businesses trying to manufacture and market legitimate products in Ghana see their efforts undercut by piracy and counterfeiting.”
Mr Asante-Bempong said the association expects government to institute a much stronger legal framework and “an effective punishment to serve as a real deterrent” to culprits. He said the association was not pleased with the current three-year jail term and compensation, deeming it as not punitive enough.
The GEA again called on government to equip regulatory bodies like the police and the Customs Exercise and Preventive Service (CEPS) with requisite tools to enable them to identify counterfeit products so offenders will be made to face relevant sanctions.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GEA, Mr Alex Frimpong, called on the media to help it communicate with the public and policymakers on the issue.
He said the association, with funding from BUSAC, has held stakeholders’ workshops in Accra and Kumasi and conducted various researches about the prevalence of the cancer in the textile and pharmaceutical industries.
Mr Frimpong, however, noted that what was left was sensitization which the association was counting on the continuous support of the media.
“We thought that having done a lot of work in building consensus on the issues concerning the legal framework and also the administrative and policy issues of counterfeit, the time has come for the public to be aware of what is going on and how we can work together to collectively combat this phenomenon.”
Source: The Finder