The Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) is calling on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reject calls by some Nigerian traders for him to direct the reopening of locked-up shops belonging to foreign retailers.
Over the years, there have been various disagreements between Ghanaian traders and their counterparts from other countries, particularly Nigerians.
The local traders have argued that per Ghana’s laws, the foreigners have no right to engage in retail trade within the country, as their activities affect the local retailers negatively.
The government subsequently set up a presidential committee to properly scrutinise all foreigners engaging in trading activities in the country.
Several shops belonging to foreigners were closed.
In a recent press release, the former president of the All Nigerian Community in the Ashanti Region, Chief Nkem Tony Onyeagolu, called on President Akufo-Addo to issue a directive for all shops belonging to foreigners to be reopened.
Reacting to this at a news conference, the Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Chapter of GUTA, Anthony Oppong said the group’s members want President Akufo-Addo to reject the call by the foreign traders as it lacks merit.
“The call for the president to review the exercise is an insult to the president and the people. It [makes it] look as if the president didn’t think, woke up one day and just gave instructions to the people to go and lock their shops. We are a sovereign country. We have rules and regulations that guide our trade policies and that’s the way we want to go, despite the fact that we are associated with so many international bodies. Our law, the constitution of this country, takes precedence over all those laws and treaties that they’ve signed on to, so they can’t dictate to us what Ghana must do with our laws.”
Mr. Anthony Oppong also alleged that their checks have shown that there are a number of foreigners who are still engaging in retail trade in various areas in the region.
He is thus urging the Presidential Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade to as a matter of urgency begin the second phase of the exercise to flush out all foreigners trading illegally in the country.
“We are, by this press conference, calling on government – we mean the Presidential Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade – to start the second phase of the exercise as soon as possible because we’ve waited for [too] long. The first phase ended somewhere in October 2020 and by then we were heading towards elections, so the general view was that we should exercise some patience for the elections to be over.
“After the election, there was a court case, then the president started constituting his government. But it looks as if these people [foreign traders] are taking us for a ride. As I am speaking now, if you go to Akyamfour market, Alabar, and Yaa Achiaa school, you will see them displaying their goods in front of the locked-up shops. If Chief Onyeagolu says I am lying, he should come right now with me and the media, and we will point to those operating now. Some are operating on motorbikes, some are going round distributing goods in vans to areas as far as villages. So they shouldn’t let Ghana look bad in the eyes of the international community.”