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Enforce law that reserves retail business for indigenes — GUTA

BY: Daniel Kenu
Mr Mohammed (middle) addressing the press in Kumasi
Mr Mohammed (middle) addressing the press in Kumasi

The Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has urged the government to urgently enforce the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) law which bars foreigners from engaging in retail businesses in markets.

The GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865) states among others that: ‘A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in (a) 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.’

Illegal business

GUTA, at a press conference in Kumasi last Tuesday, stated that the illegal activities of such foreign traders, especially Nigerians at the Suame Magazine in particular, were killing local businesses and had serious security implications.

The union recently had a stand-off with their Nigerian counterparts following an alleged false claim that the Ghanaians were causing fear and panic among their Nigerian counterparts.

The Nigerians sent a petition to the Regional Police Command and the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana to complain after the alleged harassment.

Unfounded accusation

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However, the Secretary of the Regional Branch of GUTA, Mr Ali Ahmed Mohammed, said at the press conference that the accusation was unfounded and added that the Nigerians might have panicked when the Ghanaians called for a meeting using a megaphone.

On July 24, 2017, the Magazine branch of the association held a meeting on the KNUST campus to discuss many issues, including the influx of foreign nationals in retail businesses which they said posed a threat to their businesses.    

‘‘We would like to state that we have been tolerating the nefarious and illegal activities of our Nigerian brothers for far too long. We wish to state categorically that we are not against foreigners be they Nigerians or any national, but we want the authorities to ensure that the laws of Ghana work,’’ he stated.

Caution

He cautioned Ghanaians who operated as agents on behalf of foreigners and acquired shops for them to retail products to stop or face the wrath of the association.

“Also, landlords who rent or let out their premises to foreigners demanding higher rents at the expense of Ghanaian retailers are, therefore, advised to desist from such illegal acts,” the regional secretary stressed.

The association also accused some government officials of aiding such unauthorised foreigners to acquire false documentation to perpetrate their illegal acts.

The association pleaded with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to step in to salvage the situation.