Executive Secretary of the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), Frank Agyekum, has disclosed that a meeting intended to resolve retail trade impasse between the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) has been postponed.
According to him, the Nigerian traders were expected to provide some documents and related business registrations to authenticate their legitimacy. However, the Nigerian traders instead participated in the meeting without providing the relevant documents.
Mr Agyekum revealed that GUTA on the other hand has been cautioned to refrain from taking any steps against the Nigerian traders.
“The meeting had to be adjourned for another one week in the hope that by the time we meet again, the response from the consultation between the Nigerian traders and their government would have been resolved, so we can move ahead. In the interim, GUTA has been asked to hold off any actions until we have a response from the Nigerian government”.Mr Frank Agyekum
On his part, President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, assured of his members commitment to abide by the deliberations of the meeting. He, however, cautioned the Nigerian traders Association to abide by the rules of engagement.
“I wouldn’t say it has been inconclusive. But I would say that it has been agreed that next week will be a decisive week. Our brothers [Nigerian traders] have clearly understood that they have to comply with this”.Dr. Joseph Obeng
Meanwhile, the Minister for Economic Policy Guideline at the Nigerian Commission, Silvanus Dauda, has expressed optimism that the Nigerian traders will provide the requisite documents in the next meeting.
“There are some technical issues that we’re going through. Also, I think we need some conviction on our part to order traders and retailers on the need to be in compliance. Because there are laws on the land that must be complied with for them to participate in the retail space. I expect that in the next meeting the needed documents will be provided”.Silvanus Dauda
Retail trade impasse resolution
GUTA, in its bid to reach a consensus on the trade impasse in May this year, called on government to revamp the committee on retail trade to deal with foreign traders operating in its member’s space.
According to Dr Obeng, members of the Association were agitating over the resumption of operations by foreign retailers in the country. He revealed that foreigners took advantage of the break undertaken by the committee following the pandemic disruption. As a result, the Nigerian traders invaded the retail market and subsequently took over spaces meant for Ghanaian traders.
In the build up to the meeting to resolve the matter, the GUTA President additionally called on the committee for retail trade to expedite processes in resolving challenges with foreign traders by implementing instituted laws.
He described the Association’s retail feud with foreign traders as unfair to local traders. That notwithstanding, Dr Obeng noted that the Association is willing to deliberate on the matter.
Dr Obeng expressed “a great deal of confidence” in the trade committee to do their job, revealing that the committee were well on their way to resolving the matter save the intervention of the Nigerian government that came calling for “mercy”.