GUTA locks up foreign shops in Koforidua
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) embarked on a demonstration and locked up more than 40 shops of foreign retailers for engaging in trading at Koforidua on Monday, 20 September 2021.
The demonstrators had placards, which had inscriptions including “Obey Act 865 section 27A now,” “Retail trading by non-Ghanaians is an offence”, “Police must prevent illegal trading in Ghana”, and “We shall police our own market”.
According to the members of GUTA, the action was to make known their discontent about the involvement of foreigners in retail trade in the Eastern Region, a venture reserved for Ghanaians.
A person who is not Ghanaian or an enterprise that is not wholly-owned by a Ghanaian is not permitted to invest or participate in retail business including the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place.
According to reports by Citi FM, the demonstration nearly turned violent when the owner of Mighty Light Plus Shop, which is adjacent to the Koforidua Central Police station, broke the locks placed on his shop and continued with his business.
This incurred the wrath of the GUTA members, who heckled him and forced him out of his shop.
In an interview, the Public Relations Officer of GUTA in the region, Darlen Nana Boateng, said the members would use all legal means to prevent foreigners from engaging in retail trading.
“Right now, it has turned a bit chaotic, although that is not the plan we came out with. Our members shut down a shop, but when the business owner came in, he opened the shop and insisted that he would work, and whatever it takes, he would not comply with the directive.
“No one is here destroying anybody’s business, but people should not, on their own, take the law into their own hands and be resisting the laws of Ghana. The foreign retailers should just comply with the law,” he insisted.
Some other members who participated in the process equally expressed concern over the development and asked for immediate intervention by the government.
Close illegal Nigerian retail shops – GUTA
Just last week, the national executives of GUTA appealed to the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade to immediately resume operations against illegal Nigerian traders operating in the country.
They explained that it had become necessary to do so, as the Nigerians had neglected entirely the special dispensation offered to them by the government of Ghana after a series of diplomatic efforts by both Ghana and Nigeria.
“The leaders of GUTA are making all efforts to calm down tempers, but what we cannot assure of is to have influence again over the already frustrated and desperate traders.
“We hereby want the world to bear witness to the fact that we – GUTA – have given some concessions to our Nigerian counterparts, but they have failed to accept for which there is nothing more we can do than to call for immediate continuation of the operations of the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade, to ensure sanity in our markets,” they said.
READ ALSO: GUTA Opposes Govt Decision To Permit Nigerians In Retail Trade
Earlier, the union had kicked against the government’s decision to allow Nigerians into the country’s retail space, noting that the move would open the floodgates for Nigerians to trade in the retail space.
This, they said, would cast an economic and security doom, as Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had announced that Nigerians would be excluded from the $1 million minimum capital requirement under the GIPC Act 2013, Act 865.
The President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, explained that the existing GIPC Act served as a protection to Ghanaian traders in the retail space and “pulled the brakes on Nigerian retailers overtaking our markets.”
He added that the introduction of “these exemptions will do us more harm than any good.”
This announcement was made on the sides of the Extraordinary Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit to Nigeria’s House of Representatives, held on July 7.