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Business News of Saturday, 10 November 2012

Source: Cephas Larbi

Traders Attack Hannah Tetteh

Traders in Accra yesterday descended heavily on the Minister of Trade & Industry, Hannah Tetteh for refusing to eject foreigners from retail markets across the country.

The traders expressed dissatisfaction with Ms Tetteh for failing to enforce the law to rid the retail markets of foreign traders, saying “Hannah Tetteh has lied to us, so we will take our destiny into our own hands.”

They also blamed the minister for promoting lawlessness among foreign traders. Hundreds of members of the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) yesterday embarked on a massive demonstration in Accra to register their dissatisfaction with the influx of foreigners in the country’s retail market and called on Ms Tetteh to quickly eject the foreign retailers.

Traders, who were clad in red attire from different parts of Accra, took part in the demonstration amidst drumming and dancing.

They converge at about 9:15 am on the Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, moved through Farisco and ended at the Rawlings Park in Accra Central at about 11:00pm. Some of the placards they carried read “Ghana our land”, “The Chinese must go now”, “We want our freedom Mr. President”, “Stop pulling guns at us Chinese” and “Chinese leave our country now.”

Others include “foreigners away from our land”, “Our leaders think of us”, “The economy is collapsing”, “We can’t put bread on our table” and “Nigerians leave us alone.”

At the Rawlings Park, president of GUBA, George Kweku Ofori, pointed out that government had failed to eject foreign retailers from the market after several efforts.

He explained that efforts to seek a solution to the problem had proved futile. “We think that the demonstration is the best option to register our displeasure.”

Mr. Ofori said if after some period government fails to eject foreign retailers from the markets across the country, GUTA members would do that.

“Foreigners in the country are subjecting our business laws to all forms of abuse, which if not checked immediately, will affect us and the nation as a whole,” he said.

Mr. Ofori noted that GUTA will enforce the laws if government fails to do so, adding, “There is no sign of support, no sign of relief, no sign of anything from anywhere, and so we are just like orphans who haven’t got parents.”

He further stated that his association will stop the planned construction of a Chinese market in Accra if the Trade Ministry fails to do so.

The project was initiated by the Chinese business community in Ghana following the ejection of some foreigners from the retail market.

According to Mr. Ofori, the Chinese market will collapse the Ghanaian retail market. The National Organizer of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, in a remark, said the agitations would continue nationwide until government enforces the law that bars foreigners from engaging in retail trading.

Members of GUTA closed their shops on Thursday in protest against foreign retail traders in the market. GUTA is protesting delay in the ejection of foreigners from the retail market since government’s ultimatum expired on October 16.

The foreign traders were given a reprieve by government in July to enable them regularize their businesses and leave the retail sector following public concerns about the manner in which foreigners had taken over the business environment..

The Act does not prevent foreigners from trading in Ghana but allows foreigners to trade on a large-scale while petty trading is reserved for Ghanaians.

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