Numu wants govt to protect locally designed products


Eastern Highlands Governor Peter Numu has called again for interventions by the Government to protect locally designed products like bilums and meri blouses.
He said the continuous influx of these fake products – sold cheaply in shops around the country – was a hindrance to local weavers and women who sew to sustain their livelihoods.
“It takes longer for a mother to sell her meri blouse,” Numu said.
“Sometimes she will have to lower the price just to get it off the hanger with little or no profit at all.
“The price that mothers set for their products is to cover the cost that they spent on materials to sew the blouse or weave a bilum.
“In their capacities, the local women cannot measure up to the competition they face with the influx of imported counterfeit products.
“We are looking at empowering women to be self-reliant and sustainable but we must also provide a steady and secured market for them.”
Dorothy Saun, a mother from East Sepik who sews and sells meri blouse at the Wewak main market, said with foreign owned shops selling meri blouses it was “tough competition”.
“We buy material (fabric) from them (shops), and we are all selling meri blouses, but they (shops) are selling at a cheaper price,” she said.
In July Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said a ban would soon be imposed on counterfeit products such as bilum and meri blouses to protect the local industry.
He said the Government had issued instructions to PNG Customs to tighten up inspections.
“We will give directions to all Government agencies to ban counterfeit bilums and meri blouses, especially those that affect small industries,” O’Neill said.
“Our people and income-earning opportunities are number one priority.”

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