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Textile restriction draws retailers flak

Sep '06
Restrictions on 31 of 36 clothing and textile categories by the Government has worried the retail majors as they are likely to face shortfall of supply before the peak Christmas season making the products more expensive.

The restrictions which come into effect at the end of this month, might help the local industries to resurrect themselves but they will definitely make the apparel items dearer and end up in losses of retail jobs.

The quota is scheduled to be effective till 2008 and the retailers were not taken into confidence and were just given time of seven days to reply to the proposal.

Retail giants fear that the quota imposition during such a hectic season will dampen the economy and the shortfall in supply is eminent since local manufacturers would not be able to meet the demand which will ultimately hurt South Africa's textile industry.

Retail owners were apprehensive that even if the garments are made locally, they will be far more expensive than the imported items. They protested saying that South Africa already had some of the toughest measures in the form of custom duties.

On the other hand, Fred Robertson, Chairman of the largest clothing manufacturers, House of Monatic said that they were happy to see that Government had taken these steps and expressed confidence that they would be able to meet the demand. He said that the quota will help in unemployment removal and will help out some factories.

Another problem relates to the illegal shipment in the country and experts fear that the quota imposition will only worsen the situation with legitimate imports being affected and the workers involved with processing, shipping and transportation becoming jobless.

General Secretary of South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu), Ebrahim Patel welcome the quota saying that it would give local industries a chance to resurrect themselves with a three years period.

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