The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association, GUTA, has given government a one-week ultimatum to evict foreign nationals engaged in retail trade in Ghana’s market centres.
GUTA says government’s failure to act this time around will result in a nationwide closure of foreign-owned shops.
Addressing the press, the Vice President of GUTA, Osei Brogya, said government must take immediate action to address the matter. He however says they will only reopen locked up shops for the foreign retailers to clear their goods.
GUTA says its members are at the verge of losing their businesses and will no longer sit and watch as foreigners take over a sector that is according to the law meant to be their sole reserve.
Local retailers in parts of Accra and Kumasi have been compelled to lock up foreign-owned shops as they push for the enforcement of Ghana’s laws that prohibit foreigners from engaging in retail trade.
“It has been a hard road GUTA has traveled for about twenty years now. It has just been by the grace of God that some of us are still in business. It is, therefore, in order for us to offer thanks to the Almighty God. It is highly impossible for us to sit and look on helplessly while foreigners invade our territory when our past wise leaders in their own wisdom believed that it was not only important but also necessary to reserve an area of the economy for the indigenes and enacted a law to that effect to protect the area and avoid any rift that may breach peace and security in the country”.
According to the Association, this will be the final warning to authorities who are supposed to enforce the law and ensure the well-being of local traders in the country.
“We, therefore, find it very necessary to assemble here this morning and issue a final warning to the authorities, especially, the state institutions whose responsibilities it is to ensure compliance with the laws of this country in relation to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 2013 (Act 865) , of the dire consequence of their behavior to the future of Ghana.”
The Association went on to express the consequences of the non-enforcement of laws in retail trade which according to them includes a threat to the security of the country.
“Indeed, this attitude of the state institutions and the silence of the government on the matter is creating serious insecurity in the country. Laws are made primarily to ensure orderliness, peace and security. Failure to enforce law results to the contrary. So the failure to protect the constitution and sovereign laws of Ghana by the very people who have sworn to protect the country, in itself, is a recipe for insecurity”.
“The total failure of the relevant stakeholder state institutions to enforce the GIPC Act 865 relating to retail trade by foreigners in the country has created unbearable situation that can easily cause upheaval and possible eruption in the country”.
According to GUTA, petitions to the necessary state institutions such as The Ministry of Trade and the Office of the President have yielded no results.
“GUTA, therefore,petitioned the necessary state institutions including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Office of the President, GIPC, Office of the Council of State, Parliament etc. Not even the formation of the various Inter Agency Task Force by the government has succeeded in dealing decisively with this menace. The last time some foreigners’ shops were closed is about four months now. Three months ultimatum was given to them to leave the illegal retail trade. The three months has since elapsed and here we are still saddled with the foreigners in the retail trade”.
GUTA says if government does not take action in the next week they will ensure the foreigners are made to clear their shops and leave the country.
“We have decided to reopen the closed shops for the recalcitrant foreigners to clear their goods immediately and leave there in full compliance with the law or face the dire consequence. In view of this, we hereby issue ultimatum of one week to the government, to ensure that all state institutions responsible for the enforcement of our laws on retail trade by foreigners in the country are implemented to the letter as it is done in all sovereign states to bring peace and its attendant security”.
It added that “However, if do not see concrete action by the authorities to decisively deal with the situation, we shall advice ourselves on the next line of action, which will be staged nationwide, and will damn the consequence, especially if security agencies are used as state machinery to suppress us”.