The Ghana Union of Traders Association, GUTA, says it will keep pushing to ensure that foreigners without the requisite documents to trade, are forced out of Ghana’s retail space.
According to GUTA, majority of the over 600 shops they had locked up, have been forcibly reopened by the foreign retailers particularly Nigerians, against the orders of the Presidential Committee on Foreign Retail Trade, which inspected documents of the owners.
President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, told Citi Business News the Union will not allow an illegality to persist to the detriment of its members.
“As a matter of fact, these foreigners massed up in their numbers to resist the operations of the takes force that has been set up by government, when they were ordered to close their shops again. It’s the taskforce itself that made them open the shops in order to have access to their documents for verification.”
“They (the taskforce) found out that over 90% were not eligible to do any form of trading at all because they do not even have the basic documents let alone even having the GIPC certificate. With the much touted ECOWAS protocols that we’ve been talking about, they are even not in compliance with the ECOWAS protocol itself,” he noted.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association is thus demanding the immediate closure of all illegal foreign-owned retail shops that have been reopened for business in Accra.
Basing its argument on section 27 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865, which bars foreigners from engaging in retail business in Ghana, as a space solely reserved for citizens, GUTA locked up over 600 foreign-owned shops in Accra in December last year.
This led to the formation of the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade after the President’s intervention. Few weeks ago, the Committee together with officials of the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Revenue Authority and some GUTA leaders, reopened some of the shops in a three-day exercise, after the owners provided documents to back their trade.
But GUTA says some of the Nigerian retailers who had no legitimate documents, have also gone ahead to reopen their shops for business while the authorities look on unconcerned.
“We hereby want authorities and the Ghanaian public to note that, these recalcitrant foreigners have taken the law of our country into their own hands with impunity whiles the authorities look on unconcerned”.
“GUTA has been quiet and cooperative all this time just to allow the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade to execute it’s mandate as directed by His Excellency the President of the Republic himself. GUTA welcomes all genuine foreigners who abide by the laws of our country. We also welcome our neighbours from the sb-region (ECOWAS), who deal in goods manufactured in their respective countries. However, we wish to be categorical that we will not countenance anything in the contrary, and as a result, we demand the immediate closure of those shops to avoid any unfortunate situation, as tension is mounting on the matter” it warned.