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    Trade feud: GUTA calls for resumption of closure of Nigerian-owned retail shops

    The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has appealed to the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade, to as a matter of urgency resume operations to close down shops of undocumented foreign retailers.

    GUTA’s resolution follows a move by the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) to reject the special dispensation granted them by the Government of Ghana despite a series of diplomatic efforts by both Ghana and Nigeria Governments.

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    GUTA in a statement explained that in a joint committee meeting of Ghana and Nigeria, when the committee asked the leadership of the Nigerian traders to provide it with the data of their membership and other relevant documentation on their businesses to enable the committee to discuss the issue and make an informed decision in line with the committee’s terms of reference, the Nigerian traders asked for time to produce the documents, which was granted.

    At the meeting, however, the Nigerian traders failed to provide the needed information, and told the committee that they could not comply with the request of the joint committee.

    GUTA’s statement noted that “this incongruous attitude of the Nigerian traders in Ghana is not only an affront but also a well-orchestrated ploy to frustrate the committee, State and people of Ghana”.

    In recent times, there have been several encounters between Ghanaian traders and their foreign counterparts, especially Nigerians, over the involvement of the latter in retail business in Ghanaian markets.

    GUTA have frequently confronted the Nigerian trading community in Ghana against retail trading in the Ghanaian markets.

    This has led to closure of shops, protests and destruction of property.

    The Nigerian trading community has time without number argued that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols allow free movement of goods and people across West Africa.

    However, the ECOWAS protocols give foreigners space to transact business for only 90 days.

    Section 28(2) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 865, expressly outlines the conditions under which a person who is not a citizen can engage in trading activities.

    It provides that a person who is not a citizen may engage in a trading enterprise if that person invests in the enterprise, not less than US$1 million in cash or goods and services relevant to the investments.

    The Act further provides that “trading” includes the purchasing and selling of imported goods and services.

    A further condition imposed on foreign enterprises that intend to engage in trading by Section 28(4) is that such an enterprise must employ, at least, 20 skilled Ghanaians.

    However, Section 28(5) of the Act stipulates that the minimum foreign capital requirements to invest in Ghana, including for engaging in trading, do not apply to the foreign spouse of a citizen of Ghana to the extent that the foreign spouse is or has been married to a citizen of Ghana for a minimum period of five years continuously or holds an indefinite resident permit prior to registration of an enterprise, amongst others.

    GUTA in its latest statement want Nigerian retail shops closed.

    Below are details of GUTA’s statement:

    13th/09/2021

    GHANA UNION OF TRADERS’ ASSOCIATIONS (GUTA)

    PRESS STATEMENT ON THE REJECTION OF SPECIAL DISPENSATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT BY NIGERIAN TRADERS IN GHANA

    The Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) has completely rejected the special dispensation offered to them by the government of Ghana after a series of diplomatic efforts by both Ghana and Nigeria governments.

    Government prevailed on us, the Ghanaian counterpart- GUTA to exercise restraints as the two sister States try to find a lasting solution to the long standing issue of invitation of the markets by foreign retail traders.

    As a result, the operations of the Committee on Foreign retail trade, which was tasked to check and close down shops of recalcitrant foreigners was also halted.

    In a joint committee meeting of Ghana and Nigeria, when the committee asked the leadership of the Nigerian traders to provide it with the data of their membership and other relevant documentation on their businesses to enable the committee to discuss the issue and make an informed decision in line with the committee’s terms of reference, the Nigerian traders asked for time to produce the documents, which was granted.

    At the following meeting, however, they failed to provide the needed information, and told the committee that they could not comply with the request of the joint committee.

    In fact, this incongruous attitude of the Nigerian traders in Ghana is not only an affront but also a well-orchestrated ploy to frustrate the committee, State and people of Ghana

    In view of this, we of the Ghana Union of the Traders’ Associations wish to appeal to the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade to, as a matter of urgency resume its operations without any delay as the behaviour of the Nigerian traders has seriously provoked Ghanaian traders and reigniting agitations in the markets.

    The Leaders of GUTA are making all efforts to calm down tempers but what we cannot assure of is, to have influence again over the already frustrated and desperate traders.

    We hereby want the world to bear witness to the fact that we (GUTA) have given some concessions to our Nigerian counterparts, but they have failed to accept for which there is nothing more we can do than to call for immediate continuation of the operations of the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade, to ensure sanity in our markets.

     

    Signed….

    ALPHA A. SHABAN

    SECRETARY GENERAL

     

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