GUTA Anticipates Shortage of Goods During Christmas
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is envisaging a shortage of goods this yuletide season.
President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, in an interview, said the drop in value of the cedi against the dollar has eroded the capital of traders and has made them unable to import goods.
“The capital of most businesses has eroded by about 50 per cent. So it looks like we will not be able to bring in the goods as we have done in the previous years. The prices may not also be as they used to be. I can foresee that happening because benchmark values have been reduced by over 60 per cent. So the consumers should not be looking at the traders, but rather the policymakers.”
Dr Obeng noted that GUTA agrees with the President’s suggestions of industrialization and limited importations but believes this must be done in areas where Ghana has a competitive advantage.
“If we want to sustain our forex and ensure that the country is progressing, we are all for it, but if we want to industrialize and consume what is our own, we should be able to identify the areas we have the comparative advantage in Ghana. Importation has become difficult, but how are the local manufacturers taking advantage? They are unable to take advantage because there is a thin line between the manufacturing here because the companies also import about 90 per cent of the production inputs,” he said on Citi FM on October 4.
GUTA has been at loggerheads with the government in protest of the depreciating cedi and general economic difficulties.
On October 21, GUTA asked its members to re-open their shops after a two-day strike.
The members intended to end their strike on October 24 but rescinded their decision after the government and other stakeholders’ intervention.
The strike was due to the cedi depreciation, inflation rate, lending rate, fuel cost, and the country’s general economic hardships.
A statement from GUTA informing members of the suspension said the decision comes on the back of a meeting with the King of the Ga State, Mantse Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, who promised to take the matter up to the appropriate authorities for an urgent solution.
The release also stated that the leadership of GUTA was allowed to meet President Nana Akufo-Addo, and lay their grievances and recommendations before him.
The government has since agreed to set up a working committee made of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, National Security, and GUTA to come out with practical measures to solve the challenges at hand.
The President has also indicated that most of the GUTA’s recommendations will be factored into the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) negotiations.