Members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), an umbrella body of retailers in the country, have called on the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) to take urgent steps to restrict the activities of foreigners in the retail business, in accordance with the laws of the land at the various Central Business Districts (CBDs) of Accra.
The association said, concerns had been raised several years ago and petitions upon petitions have been sent to government for a review of the GIPC Act 478 as well as strict monitoring and enforcement of the law to save the economy from collapse.
They explained that the foreigners are edging the Ghanaians out of business and making Ghanaians “store boys and girls” instead of being business owners.
Stalls now in Okaishie, are going for 150,000 Ghana Cedis for only goodwill of five years and questioned how Ghanaians can afford this.
George Ofori, President of GUTA, said as a results of government’s unfair policies, coupled with the inability of state institutions to effectively monitor and enforce compliance of the law governing doing retail business in the country (in particular reference to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre law) that bar foreigners from engaging in petty trading.
According to him, members have called for the attention of government to all these concerns through the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MMDAs) but to no avail.
He made this call when members of the association thronged the Central Business Districts of Accra namely Tudu, Okaishie, Makola, Tudu among others together with media personnel to provide evidence of the illicit activities of the Chinese nationals in the retail business.
He noted that the Chinese nationals are treating the laws that bar foreigners from being in the retail business with impunity.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr.EkowSpio-Gabbrah, has directed leadership of the association to provide evidences of the illicit activities of the Chinese nationals in the retail business in the country, hence the need to provide him with the raw evidence.
“It will interest you to know that nothing concrete has been done to review the unfavourable policies to save our businesses from total collapse as well as ameliorate the severe economic conditions Ghanaians are suffering in doing business,” he said.
He argued that the foreigners have taken the commanding heights of the economy by virtue of the fact they have not met some demands of the GPIC, this has led to many Ghanaians losing their livelihood because they cannot afford $100,000 capital requirement.
Prior to the fact finding mission by members, a lot of important observations were made, which points to some underhand dealings between some government officials and the representatives of the foreigners in the petty trading business.
He warned all state officials and all those who may hide behind operations of the state against any attitudes or behaviours that infringes on the rights of members.
Members of GUTA, will ensure that democracy works without fear, harassment or intimidation from all quarters.
Highlighting some of their concerns, he said the depreciation of the Cedi; particularly the exports ofhard foreign currency out of the country by these foreigners have been the bane of the rapid Cedi depreciation.
The influx of foreigners in the retail trade is fast pushing Ghanaians out of the retail business he mentioned.
He commended the Ministry of Trade and Industry for setting up the Inter Agency Taskforce to monitor and enforce compliance of the GIPC law even though the activities of the taskforce have been dormant in recent times.