President of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA), Dr. Joseph Obeng, has disclosed that the Association will resume the close down of unregistered foreign retail shops in May this year.
According to him, the exercise will cover retail centres in Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and the Central Region.
“The taskforce meant to close the shops has not been active for a while. We shall resume somewhere in May 2021. This time around, we are targeting some major spots in Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and others. It’s all about the law”.
Per data from the Association and the Ministry of Trade, some 200 unregistered foreign retail shops remain locked up in Accra and Kumasi.
Commenting on this, Dr Obeng revealed that none of the 200 shops have proven “to have the right documents to operate”.
“It gives us more reason to keep them closed”.
Reopening of Nigerian retail shops
Currently, the former President for All Nigerian Communities in Ashanti Region, Chief Nkem Tony Onyeagolu, has called on President Akufo-Addo to direct the reopening of locked-up Nigerian shops.
Countering the request in a statement, the Ashanti Regional Branch of GUTA described as unfortunate, calls made on the President to reopen the shops.
GUTA further described the situation as “palpable falsehood and an insult to the president and the good people of the country”.
According to the Association, the presidential committee “enforced a parliamentary enacted law of the land”. This law, GUTA revealed permits it to close down these shops without documentation.
“That is GIPC Act 865, which does not allow foreigners in retail business and did not work capriciously.
“That the said committee did not target any particular nation. As the name goes, the committee is a public mandated one to ensure sanity and compliance among foreigners in the retail space”.
GUTA further maintained that Chief Nkem lost sight of Ghana being “a sovereign state with laws and regulations”. This, it revealed, is meant to regulate the trading activities of the country despite “affiliation to some international bodies”.
It further revealed that the retail issues fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade. In lieu of that, requesting the President to intervene is “an unnecessary interference” in the affairs of an independent body.
“The allegations that their monies and documents are locked up in the shops is also false. The committee allows retrieval of such items when genuinely proven”.
GUTA reacts to retail shop owners defiance to directive
The Association also recounted incidences whereby Nigerian retailers blatantly displayed wares in front of locked-up shops.
“Others have resulted to the use of motor bikes and distribution vans to patronize their customers both in the urban and rural areas.”
GUTA bemoaned the negative impact the activities these shops are having on Ghanaian businesses. It further called on the presidential Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade to intervene in the ensuing problem.
According to the Association, the Committee must embark on the promised second and subsequent phases of the exercise. It explained that, this will “avert the collapse of our business” especially in this pandemic times.
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