The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) says it won’t back down on its plans to embark on a nationwide exercise to close down foreign-owned retail shops.
The association on Monday gave the government a one-week ultimatum to evict foreign nationals engaged in retail trade in Ghana’s market centres warning that the government’s failure to act will result in the execution of the planned action.
National Organizer of GUTA, Clement Boateng speaking to Citi News noted that: “We are not going to back down; this is a battle we have fought close to 20 years. It beats our imagination where successive governments have not had the courage to enforce the law that came out from the wisdom of parliamentarians. The fight also continues unabated. We will make sure that the law is enforced so that the citizens are protected.”
Tensions have in recent times manifested in local traders locking up shops of foreign traders among other clashes as GUTA pushes for the enforcement of Ghana’s laws that prohibit foreigners from engaging in retail trade.
But the government has shied away from enforcing the law, opting instead for diplomacy in handling the resulting tensions.
According to GUTA, the invasion of foreigners in the retail business has led to the collapse of their businesses.
They say that the government has not fulfilled its promise of ridding the market of such traders despite several appeals.
The activities of the foreigners breach the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre’s Act (Act 865).
‘Cease fire’ – Trade Ministry appeals to agitated GUTA
The Ministry of Trade and Industry had earlier called on angry retailers across the country to exercise restraint and not take the laws into their own hands.
Deputy Minister-in-charge of Trade and Industry, Mr. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, says even though it was obvious to them that some foreigners were breaking the law by engaging in retail businesses in the Ghanaian market, he called on the retailers to exercise patience as government find ways to resolve their issue.
“I want to plead with my fellow GUTA members that no matter what the issue may be, they shouldn’t go on this tangent, they should exercise restraint. Ideally, it is not a law that lies in the bosom of the Trade Ministry, it is the GIPC that has that mandate but they [traders] see the Trade Ministry as their mother ministry or a ministry that is supposed to take care of their wellbeing. We are capable of solving this problem but we are just pleading with them to hold fire so that we don’t create a situation where people will start reading different meanings into the situation,” Carlos Ahenkorah appealed.