Business News of Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Traders at the Central Business District (CBD) on Tuesday expressed mixed fillings over government’s decision to stop foreigners from engaging in retail trading in the country as petitioned by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
This came out when some officials from the GUTA, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Ministry of Trade and Industries and the Ghana Immigration Service, which formed the Inter-Agency Taskforce, distributed notices warning foreign traders to desist from engaging in retail trade.
Some of the traders who were against government’s decision to stop foreigners from engaging in retail trade appealed to government to rescind its decision as trading with the foreigners, especially the Chinese, was much easier because their goods were cheaper and of higher quality as compared to those from their Ghanaian counterparts.
The traders said they preferred to trade with the Chinese because they were more punctual and never kept them waiting as compared to their Ghanaian traders. Nana Ama who sells shoes at UTC said she preferred to trade with the Chinese traders because they always met her needs and specifications as compared to Ghanaian traders who would offer them what was available and not what traders request for.
She blamed rich Ghanaian traders at CBD for the raid on foreign traders and called on them to rather learn from them since they were better people to trade with.
“When these foreign traders started trading in this areas, all these rich people were here but because of their high prices and poor services, we had to shift our attention from them to the foreigners, especially the Chinese”, she said.
She called on the government not to only deliberate with GUTA members, but also invite those who prefer to trade with foreigners as well in order to come to a common stand on the issue.
Mr John Mensah, who sells men’s shoes at Kantamanto, called for the deportation of foreign traders as they had caused landlords and shop owners to increase the rent of their shops and sometimes even prefer dollars to cedis which many Ghanaians could not afford.
Some of the shops which were served with notices to stop engaging in retailing had Ghanaians fronting for the foreigners while others did not have the permit to work in the country.
Mr Ben Yeboah, GUTA National Executive member, appealed to foreigner traders to follow rules governing trading in the country in order to avoid trouble with the law.
He called on Ghanaian traders to support the Task Force set up to enforce laws governing trading in the country and not side with foreigners because of the what they might gain from them.
He expressed concern about the foreign trades’ decision not to abide by rules governing trade and that the latest notice required of them to stop retail trade with immediate effect.
He said the task force chose not to lock up their stores because they did not want to do anything that could cause tension in the country, especially as the general elections approach and expressed hope they that the foreign traders would respect their latest notice.
Some of the foreigners served with notices include Chinese, Nigerian and India shops involved mostly in trading in shoes, cloth and building materials.
The Inter Agency Taskforce was set in up2012 by the Ministry of Trade and Industries (MOTI) to enforce the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) Act 478 of 1994, which bars foreign national from engaging in petty trading or retailing as it was the sole preservative of Ghanaians.