Dr Isaac Doku, a lecturer, with the department of economics at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), has called on government not to permit the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) to enforce retail laws against Nigerian traders.
According to him, enforcement of laws must be undertaken by legal agencies such as the police. This, he explained, is a better alternative to avert escalation of tension between the feuding parties.
GUTA has over the period carried out threats of closing shops of Nigerian traders in Accra and Kumasi, further deepening the feud between the two.
Speaking with the Vaultz News, Dr Doku suggested that government at the end of the day “should have its own taskforce” to deal with issues meriting enforcing laws.
“They shouldn’t allow GUTA, they are not trained personnel to enforce the law. It is not the duty of GUTA to enforce the law, it is the duty of the police to enforce the law”.Dr Isaac Doku
In a bid to ensure the full operationalization of the laws regarding retail, Dr Doku called for a proper implementation of tax laws suggesting some Nigerian traders are “evading taxes”.
He recounted instances where a Nigerian submitted his “income tax certificate” and it was also presented by his colleague trader when he requested for his.
“If you follow the formal procedure and they are able to get the necessary documents, they should allow them to operate. So, we should allow them in the interim but we should make sure they follow the procedure.
“I don’t think we need extra laws; we should allow what is there to work, but we should allow the law enforcement agencies to enforce it, not GUTA. Because GUTA does not have the trained personnel, they’re going to overdo things”.Dr Isaac Doku
Admittedly, Dr Doku explained that we cannot “flush them out” because they are “our brothers” and requested government, to put a “human face” to the enforcement of laws. However, he cautioned that authorised agencies must not also “relax the laws”.
Amendment of GIPC Act
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, in July announced that Nigerian traders will be exempted from the $1 million minimum capital under the GIPC Act, Act 865. Following a meeting with the Speaker, GUTA President Dr. Joseph Obeng, stated that the speaker admitted he had no right to amend the GIPC (Act), Act 865 of 2013.
Commenting on the matter, Dr Doku indicated that parliament should not “throw away the law totally”, neither should they close the shops. Instead, he expressed the need for GUTA and Nigerian traders to “find a middle option” to diffuse the current tension between them.
“We know there are a lot of Nigerians doing retail business which is not supposed to be the norm. But at the end of the day, we have a lot more who because of fear will not venture into it. If gradually we take off the law totally, they are going to come in full force and they’ll bring in low quality products, sell them very cheap and throw out the businesses of Ghanaians”.Dr Isaac Doku
Buttressing his point, Dr Doku stressed that despite the shared affinity of brotherliness between Ghanaians and Nigerians, their lack of proper documentation also makes it impossible to track them when they engage in “criminal activities in Ghana”.
He revealed that the reason for Ghana’s inclusion in the money laundering list is as a result of some Nigerians. This, he noted, is because they have “acquired Ghanaian passports to perpetrate this crime”.
“So, leaving the law to be there that way, we are going to reduce the problem to a very large extent. If you say let’s exempt Nigerians then we’re in big trouble [because] we have not even exempted them and we are in trouble”.Dr Isaac Doku