Shutdown of foreign businesses continue unabated – GUTA
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has resolved to keep opposing foreign retail businesses and to embark on demonstrations to register their displeasure over the operations of such businesses in the country.
GUTA has bemoaned the lack of implementation of GIPC Act 2013 (Act 865) section 27A, insisting that retail business is a preserve of Ghanaians.
Consequently, the union says it would embark on every lawful means to protect Ghanaian businesses.
The President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, explained that their actions would ensure the protection of the constitution, adding that they haven’t contravened sub-regional trade protocols including Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and ECOWAS trade liberalisation programmes.
“GIPC Act 865 needs to work, it’s as simple as that. We are protecting in civility, in other countries where it suits them, they do worse things, but we are civil and reminding the state to do what is supposed to be done,” he insisted.
“This is not in contradiction to international protocols such as the African Continental Free Trade Area. The framework that established these treaties tell member states what to do. The whole agreement dwells on rules of origin for which people are abusing. It is for the same reason that Nigeria shut its borders,” he added.
Dr Obeng, who was speaking in an interview with GBC on Wednesday, September 22, then appealed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to allow the president’s committee on retail trade to commence work and clamp down on foreign retail businesses in the country.
This is coming few days after members of GUTA embarked on a demonstration and locked up more than 40 shops of foreign retailers for engaging in trading at Koforidua on Monday, September 20.
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”.
They explained that their 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.
The Public Relations Officer of GUTA in the Eastern 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
Prior to the demonstration, the national executives of GUTA had 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.