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GUTA Beats War Drums

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Information reaching THE NEW PUBLISHER indicates that leadership of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) from the Greater Accra Region and other parts of the country had a crisis meeting at Ghana House, and came up with strategies to ensure that retail trade is not taken over by foreigners.

The general feeling at the meeting was that government is not interested in enforcing the existing laws which bars foreigners from retain trade and because they, the local traders, are at the ones losing out, they would defend themselves and protect their turf even if it means their approach would result in some civil unrest.

Just before the crisis meeting yesterday, personnel from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service had arrested some GUTA executives and Electrical Dealers Association (EDA), following their threat to take action against foreigners in the retail business, if the government failed to implement the law barring non-nationals from doing retail business in the country.

Confirming the arrest, GUTA president, Dr Joseph Obeng wondered how the police can arrest citizens who are demanding that the country’s laws must be enforced.

“This is an unfair treatment…it cannot be that we despise our own citizens and then love others when the law is even on our side,” he told Joy News.

It would be recalled that retail traders in Accra and Kumasi recently accused foreignersof engaging in retail trade, contrary to Section 27 of GIPC Act 865.

The action by the Kumasi traders had the backing of GUTA, whocalled on government to enforce the GIPC Act.
Dr.Obeng noted that various sector associations have been giving solidarity messages since they are also feeling the effect of foreigners operating in their trading space.
“Yesterday, the electrical dealers organised a press conference and warned that those who are in our midst and working illegally should not open their shops,” he told Joy Business, adding that the traders emphasized that they will arrest anyone trading illegally and help enforce the laws of Ghana.

Even though the law clearly prohibits non-Ghanaians from engaging in retail trade in the country, governments have over the years found it difficult to implement it.

While some people claim the law is contrary to the ECOWAS provision on the free movement of goods and persons across the sub-region, others simply argue thatSection 27 of the Ghana PIC Act 865 cannot be enforced because it conflicts with certain international treaties Ghana had signed.

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