Nkoranza — Bono East Regional Minister Kwasi Adu-Gyan has urged tailors and seamstresses to be creative and competitive in their fashion designs and styles to be able to enter the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He said this on Saturday at the first annual Bono East Regional Conference of the Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Association (GNTDA), in Nkoranza on the theme “Clothing Africa Beyond, The Role of Tailors and designers of Bono East”.

The regional minister said the popular kaba and slit, kaftan, blouse and other garments sewn from kente and other local fabrics, could gain local and international recognition, to impact the economy.

He said the free trade area had a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion, which allowed member countries’ products to be sold to each other, with a reduction in tariff and non-tariff agreements. .

Mr. Adu-Gyan instructed the GNTDA leadership to organize its members into cooperatives and clusters, to equip them to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the AfCTA.

The regional minister added that the objective of the association was in line with the government’s efforts to make Ghana self-sufficient and a net exporter of commodities, in which the country had a competitive advantage.

“It is the government’s vision to stem the importation of used fabrics by empowering tailors and seamstresses to produce and clothe Ghana, and export to the international market to earn foreign exchange,” a- he declared.

Mr Adu-Gyan expressed concern over how Ghana in 2020 alone imported $182 million worth of used rags, making it the largest importer of the product in the world, where taxes averages on this one were 18.9%.

Bono East Regional Chairman for GNTDA, Samuel Asante Addo, revealed that the association, established in August 2020, has trained more than 2,000 young apprentices in the region.

Mr. Addo noted that the beneficiaries received certificates from the National Vocational Technical Institute (NVTI) and the Council for Technical and Vocational Training (COTVET), which would enable them to integrate into any institution, to have an impact.

He said the GNTDA will develop a curriculum for training youth under the National Employable Skills Training Program (NESTS) and organize seminars and workshops to improve the skills of their members.

The Regional President appealed to Mr. Adu-Gyan, Nananom, individuals, groups and other stakeholders, to assist Association members with material and financial support, especially young people in the profession.