The Ministry of Trade and Industry, has tried over the years unsuccessfully to stop foreigners from engaging in retail trade.
The Ghana Investment Provision Act 108, that establishes retail trade in this country debar foreigners from retailing in goods and services,
which is reserved for Ghanaians.
Retail business is reserved for Ghanaians, because the capital involved to run one is small.
In as much as this is a laudable idea and one which Ghanaians should embrace and be happy, we should not lose sight of the fact that Ghanaians don’t know how to trade, hence we need laws to set and regulate prices with sensible and acceptable profit margins.
The prices of items sold by foreigners, who own retail shops and people who buy their goods from the these foreigners and probably the same shops as their Ghanaian counterparts, sells for far less and sometimes of higher quality than that of the Ghanaian retailer.
What is even worrying these days, is the abnormal prices that locally produced, or manufactured product are sold for. Tilapia grown in Ghana cost twice as much as imported chicken, not that the two can be compared in terms of delicacy or nutrition, but it is just to emphasize the point of cheating one another.
Majority of us are the problem, we are all unfortunately engaged in the habit of wanting to make abnormal profit at the expense of unsuspecting consumers.
The price of an item in a shop own by a Ghanaian close or adjacent to one own by a foreigner, cost twice as much.
Buyers or consumers are rational human beings, they will always want to maximize profit out of the little money they have, so for as long as Ghanaian retailers continue to charge or sell at throat cutting prices, buyers will also exercise their right of choice.
We can continue to close their shops and chase them out of the streets, but consumers will always look for them to buy from them.
We are crying that the economy is hard and are quick to blame the political leaders, when it is also partly as a result of retailers and businessmen, who are quick to say that the Dollar is high and so are taking advantage of the free fall of the Cedi against its major trading
currencies to charge so much for their goods and services. Our problem in this country is the dollar, when the medium of exchange is the Cedi,
even women who roast plantain along the street also claim the dollar is to be blame for the high cost of the plantain.