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Business News of Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Stop foreigners in retail business; Ghanaian spareparts dealers demand

The Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association has given the government a two-week ultimatum to stop the foreigners from competing with locals in the retail business space.

Given that the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 108 bars foreigners from engaging in the retail business, the association said it would take several actions to implement the act by itself should the government refuse to act within the two-week period.

In solidarity with their Ghanaian counterparts in Kumasi, the co-Chairman of the association, Mr Clement Boateng, who addressed a press conference on June 20 in Accra, observed that spare parts dealers in the country would not relent in their quest to stop all foreigners in the retail business after the two-week ultimatum expired.

“Per the GIPC law, a person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by citizens shall not invest or participate in sale of goods or provide service in a market, petty trading, hawking or selling of goods in a store.

“We are emphasising that foreigners are not supposed to engage in retail trade per the law and so we are reiterating that all foreigners who are doing business should engage in wholesaling only,” he said.

Mr Boateng indicated that the association, over the past 15 years, had been calling on various State agencies to enforce the law in order to stop foreigners from trading in the retail space, but to no avail.

“It is on record that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) has consistently promised to crack the whip by setting up a task force to prevent foreigners from retail trading but this task force has not been able to live up to expectations.
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“There have been several publications to deal with this issue but all have not worked. The ministry recently issued a statement vowing to deal with foreigners trading in the retail market but nothing came out of that,” he said.

Influx of foreigners

Mr Boateng, who is also the General Secretary of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), indicated that business activities in every country were guided by law, and that Ghana was no different.

As a result, he wondered why the authorities in the country still allowed the influx of foreigners into the retail space in spite of the availability of a law that made their actions criminal.

He, thus, blamed the development on the laxity in the implementation of laws, which he said was prevalent in the country.

Tax evasion

Another co-Chairman of the association, Mr Siaw Ampadu, stated that foreigners who engaged themselves in retail business often did not have the requisite permit to operate and subsequently did not pay the right taxes to the State.

“We want to draw the attention of the government to the fact that these foreigners who engage in retail trade are individuals who do not have the right operating licences and they will, therefore, indulge in non-payment of taxes,” he said.

Beyond that, he noted that the foreigners brought their brothers and sisters from their home countries to work with them but did not engage the services of the unemployed Ghanaian youth.

He said they also repatriated their profits to their countries which often resulted in the fluctuation of the local currencies.