Ghanaian traders up in arms over closure of foreign businesses
By Belinda Sarfoa Dankwa
Ghanaian traders dealing in foot wear at UTC in Accra have expressed their dissatisfaction with the closure of shops of foreign retail traders.
They explained that doing business with these Chinese traders was of benefit to them, because they bought their goods at a cheaper price, as compared to that of Ghanaian traders. They also benefitted from them by selling in front of their shops, which a Ghanaian trader will never agree to.
Government on Tuesday, last week, enforced the law banning foreign traders operating in the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) of the country.
The taskforce, which was formed by the government, closed shops owned by foreign nationals at the Makola Market in Accra, and other markets invaded by these non-Ghanaians, who were operating illegally in Ghana’s retail business sector.
The Inter Agency Taskforce comprises officials from the Registrar Generals Department, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the Ghana Revenue Authority, Police, Immigration Service, Trade and Foreign Affairs Ministries earlier met to strategize on how to carry out the exercise.
However, a cross-section of these traders who spoke to the Business Chronicle pleaded that government should organize a seminar with the foreigners, to address the issue and also come to an agreement with them, so as to allow them continue with their business.
Their fears were also that if this issue is not rectified, it will render them jobless, since they wouldn’t have a place to sell, and even if they do, business will be very slow because it will be expensive to buy the products from Ghanaian traders.
Another concern raised was that government should analyze the various business sectors, because their claims was that it was only the Chinese traders who were dealing in these rubber foot wear. Ghanaian traders in this business are also importing their goods from China, and according to the traders both products were of the same quality but of different prices, since the ones sold by the Chinese traders were cheaper.
In a research made in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Laws (GIPC) 1994, it is stated in Act 478 that trading activities in the market place is reserved for Ghanaians only. The laws of the country also enjoins all non Ghanaians , including ECOWAS citizens , who would like to engage in trading, to comply with some rules like; obtaining tax identification numbers (TINs), opening bank accounts in the country and incorporating business at the Registrar Generals Department etc.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, the Minister for Trade and Industry, told journalists at a press conference that some Nigerian ECOWAS members misunderstood the act and filed a complain to ECOWAS Commission , stating that they were being driven away from the Ghanaian market.
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