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GUTA opposes govt decision to permit Nigerians in retail trade

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has kicked against the government’s decision to allow Nigerians into the country’s retail space.

GUTA said it was “shocking”, and the decision could negatively affect the fortunes of Ghanaian traders in the retail business.

GUTA asserted that the move would open the flood gates for Nigerians to trade in the country’s retail space casting economic and security doom.

The opposition by GUTA comes after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, announced through a joint communiqué between Ghana and Nigeria that Nigerians would be excluded from the $1 million minimum capital requirement under the GIPC Act 2013, Act 865.

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.

The Speaker explained that the intervention was to end the 25-year retail impasse between the two countries and facilitate the regularisation of businesses affecting Nigerian retail traders.

However, the President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, has explained that the existing GIPC Act has served as a protection to Ghanaian traders in the retail space and “pulled the brakes on Nigerian retailers overtaking our markets.”

He adds that the introduction of “these exemptions will do us more harm than any good.”

“The joint communiqué has not even surfaced. We all factored in our inputs. It is something unknown to stakeholders. What was the Speaker talking about? Was it to please the people of Nigeria as against the people of Ghana?” Dr Obeng quizzed.

It would be recalled that a six-member delegation, led by the Acting Nigerian High Commissioner, Gambo Yusuf Hamza, paid a courtesy call on the speaker to, among other things, discuss issues of trade between the two countries.

The Speaker has assured that traders in the two countries would work in harmony to help maximise the opportunities that abound in the sub-region.

Before this meeting, a 12-member delegation from Nigeria met with Ghanaian officials to resolve the Ghana-Nigeria retail trade impasse following the closure of many Nigerian shops in Ghana.

Also, the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the former speaker of the Ghana Parliament, Mike Oquaye, met back in September 2020 following the blowback over the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act.

Post these meetings; deliberations went on between both countries resulting in the announcement by Mr Bagbin of a review of the GIPC Act to relax the law for Nigerians.

In an interview with Joy News, the GUTA president noted that it would soon close down undocumented foreign retailer shops in the country, an exercise that was to be carried out in May 2021.

Areas where the exercise is expected to occur include Ashanti, Greater Accra, Western and the Central regions.

Over 600 Nigerian Shops At Circle Locked Up Again By GUTA

Over 600 shops belonging to foreign traders, particularly Nigerians at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, were locked up by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) in December 2019.

That was not the first time GUTA members had embarked on such an exercise in their quest to rid the Ghanaian market of foreign traders who are engaging in retail.

READ ALSO: Be Submissive Before We Reopen Your Shops – GUTA To Nigerian Traders

Earlier last year, GUTA took a similar decision and closed down over 50 retail shops belonging to Nigerians in the Central Business District in Accra.

On their part, traders from Nigeria operating in the retail sector have continually appealed to the government of Ghana to intervene and help them transact business in the country until the latest decision.

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