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General News of Friday, 12 November 2004

Source: GNA

National Friday Wear Programme launched

Accra, Nov. 12, GNA - Government on Friday launched the "National Friday Wear Programme", an initiative aimed at projecting a unique Ghanaian identity through the extensive use of local fabric and designs as business wear.

The programme, initiated by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiative in collaboration with the private sector, sets aside Fridays for all public officers and the private sector, as much as practicable, to wear locally designed garments produced from locally manufactured fabrics.

It was part of a comprehensive programme to promote made-in-Ghana goods and to revitalise the textile and garments industry. The programme is to be implemented by the private sector, the success of which could create another range of garments that could be exported alongside those being exported under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines, who launched the programme on behalf of President J. A. Kufuor said the textile sector was about the third most important in the world economy after tourism and information technology.

The current global value of trade in the sector stands at approximately 342 billion US dollars, offering tremendous opportunity to developing countries to transform their economies through the development of the textiles and garment sector to create employment, generate income and reduce poverty.

Mrs Bannerman said the world acclaimed textiles and clothing designers in Ghana put her in a unique position to develop a vibrant local fabric and garment industry.

With the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), an opportunity for over 6400 eligible products, including textiles and garments could be exported duty free and quota-free to the US adding that the expiry of the Act had been extended from 2008 to 2015.

She said the modern Clothing Technology and Training Centre (CTTC) established in Accra to train young men and women in indigenous designs and apparel would be extended to all the 10 regions and urged the youth to avail themselves to it.

Mr. Allan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade, Industry and PSI said there was the need for a change of attitude with reference to the belief that one was a gentleman only when he wore a suit.

He said: "if we want to domesticate, there must be factories to produce the garments,'' adding that to encourage this, a National Consumer Credit Scheme had been instituted to provide financial support for the people in the industry.

Mr Kyerematen said though the programme was called the National Friday Wear Programme, it did not necessarily mean that the dresses should be worn only on Fridays, but could be worn on any day of the week.

Nana Akomea, Minister of Information said the global world made the Ghanaian culture to be under siege and there was the need to protect it. He said it could even start with the President proposing a toast with palm wine instead of a foreign drink when he received visitors. He said it was nice and comfortable to wear made in Ghana goods and urged everybody to embrace the programme.

Nana Prah Ageyensaim, the fourth, Member of the Council of State, who chaired the function said government could support the initiative with the use of local fabrics for school uniforms.

Representatives from the Akosombo Textiles Limited, Ghana Textiles Manufacturing Company, Printex, Ecobank and some private fabric and garment industries pledged their support for the programme.

Men and women's wear from local fabrics designed by Kofi Ansah Fashions were modelled to the admiration of the guests.

Awards were presented to the winners of the National Friday Wear competition, including Lisdon Fabrics and Garments, Kofi Ansah Fashions and the Liza and Liza Fashions.