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Business News of Tuesday, 12 October 2021


Taskforce fails to resolve retail trade impasse between Ghana and Nigeria

Joseph Obeng, President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association Joseph Obeng, President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association

The impasse between Ghanaian traders and foreigners, especially Nigerians, operating in Ghana’s retail space may not end any time soon following a lack of consensus on the matter.

According to Citi FM, an Accra based radio station, a recent meeting between the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Nigerian Union of Traders Association (NUTAG) at the behest of the new presidential task force mandated by the Trades Ministry to find an amicable solution to the stand-off once again failed to resolve the ongoing trade war.

Some Ghanaians traders have in recent times locked up shops owned by Nigerians in a bid to get them to comply with the laws that prohibit foreigners from engaging in retail trade in the country.

Despite the law banning foreigners from engaging in retail trade in Ghana, some foreign nationals continue to engage in such activities in breach of the GIPC Act.

This development and lack of proper enforcement by regulatory agencies have led to some confrontations between Ghanaian retailers and their foreign counterparts in parts of the country.

In September this year, some foreign-owned shops in different parts of the country were forcefully closed.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry subsequently set up a new joint task force comprising the leadership of GUTA and NUTAG to help resolve the issue following the failure of an initial task force to do so.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry also asked GUTA members to refrain from locking up shops belonging to foreigners ahead of a planned meeting with leaders of both trade unions today, Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

The meeting was however inconclusive as members of NUTAG said they were yet to brief the government on the latest development and the way forward.

Co-Chair of the Ghana–Nigeria Joint Implementation Task Force on Retail Trade, Frank Agyekum said “Unfortunately, at this meeting, the Nigerians have told us again they have not finished their consultation with their government, and so we could not carry on with the meeting. It has to be adjourned for another one week in the hope that by the time we meet again, the consultation between the Nigerians and their government would be complete, and then we can move on from there.

“In the interim, the Trade Ministry has asked GUTA to also hold off any actions until we have a response from the Nigerian government, and then we know what to do from there,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, said he was hopeful the next meeting would bring finality to the matter.

“At the end of it all, it has been agreed that this week should be a decisive week. And so I think our brothers have clearly understood that they have to comply and from what they are saying they are going to comply with the laws of Ghana.”