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Business News of Saturday, 29 September 2018


We have muscles to match threats & nonsensical claims by Nigerian traders - GUTA

Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) having a press conference Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) having a press conference

General Secretary of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Mr Alfa Shaban, has said Ghana is a sovereign state and will therefore not be cowed in bending its laws to favour foreign traders.

Reacting to the demonstration staged by Nigerians in protest against what they described as an unfair treatment of their countrymen by Ghanaian traders, Mr Shaban said, trade laws govern Ghana and as such, it must be obeyed.

The laws of Ghana he noted do not prevent foreigners from doing business in Ghana. However, foreigners are not entailed to retail trade.

The Association has been kicking against Chinese and Nigerian retailers in the country whom it says are contravening the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)’s directive that bars foreign participation in lower levels of the retail chain.

Current investment laws bar foreigners from trading in retail markets unless they bring about $1 million and employ about 20 Ghanaians.

Explaining further on this point, he said, foreigners have for years abused the hospitality of Ghanaians and violated our laws without any sanctions been applied by state authorities.

He sent a strong signal to Nigerians who are violating our laws that, Ghanaians have the muscles to match them squarely if they feel they can violate our trade laws.

‘’Foreigners are doing the wrong thing. They have abused our hospitality. We have called on government to ensure that the right thing is done so this indiscipline can be checked…anytime we do this; Nigerians feel they have the muscles to fight Ghanaians. They are deceiving themselves. We have the muscles to fight back but Ghanaians are very civilised, very disciplined and very hospitable but they should not abuse our hospitality. We are going to respond to those nonsensical claims because there is no country called ECOWAS. ECOWAS is an association of countries within the sub-region for a purpose based on agreement of protocol if you like.’’

The chief scribe of GUTA said, Nigeria did a similar thing some years ago and challenged Ghana at the ECOWAS court but lost.

He insisted Ghana is a sovereign state and foreigners are expected to abide by our laws and admonished them to stop their empty threats.

Nigerian traders few days ago protested over what they called hostile treatment of Nigerian traders in Ghana.

The protesters, led by the President of the Association, Barrister Ken Ukaoha presented a petition to the ECOWAS and cautioned that if they failed to intervene in the matter within a week, they would occupy the Commission’s premises.

Barrister Ukaoha is reported by the Punch Newspaper in Nigeria as saying that the development has gotten so bad that Ghana’s Parliament has recently passed a law to make the business environment hostile to foreign investors.

He noted that since Ghana is a signatory to the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and services, there is a need for the Commission to caution the Ghanaian government. But GUTA says the threats by the Nigerian traders are empty and emphasized that no foreigner would be allowed to violate our trade laws.

Meanwhile, the Trade and Industry Ministry has issued a statement directing all locked up shops belonging to foreign traders to be opened immediately.

According to a statement from the Ministry, the directive is to “permit the various State Institutions and Agencies to carry out their lawful mandate of enforcing local laws and regulations, including those related to the operations of businesses in Ghana.”

The statement assured that the government will continue to ensure that “all businesses operating in the retail sector of Ghana are given the opportunity and support to regularize their operations and comply with laws and regulations in the country.”