The Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) wishes to declare its total support for the action taken by the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Union to stop the flouting of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865 of 2013, section 27 (1) a, by some miscreant foreigners, as the state responsible for monitoring and enforcement of the law totally failed to carry out their duties.
It would be recalled that about twenty (20) years ago, members of the trading community, especially, our Union, raised a red-flag about the activities of some foreigners in retail trade, and called on the state authorities to sit up and effectively monitor and enforce the law
governing retail trade in the country, to avoid any future trouble for the country, but all the concerns were not heeded to.
The failure by the authorities to act, led to serious agitations by traders, especially, our members whose space is being taken over by these illegal foreign operators.
Following the agitations, the then government formed an Inter-Agency Task Force to monitor the activities of foreigners in retail trade in the country and enforce the law. Subsequent governments too did same but nothing positive has been achieved.
Owing to this failure of the state actors to effectively enforce the law, coupled with the lot of frustrations that the traders were going through, our members in Kumasi were compelled
to take the destiny into their own hands and closed foreigner’s shops about eight months ago.
This also resulted in the formation of the quite recent committee on foreign trade by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to ensure that foreigners comply with the laws. The committee worked diligently and discovered a lot of fraudulent deals and other illegalities perpetrated by these foreigners, especially Nigerians living in Ghana.
The said Committee was supposed to present the report of its findings but eight months on, nothing has been said about it.
MOTTO: GUTA, Our Business
It would also be recalled that on this same issue of retail trade by foreigners in Ghana, Parliament raised some concerns and invited GUTA and other relevant stakeholders on the “matter, to meet a joint select committee on Interior, Trade and Tourism in March, 2019 of which GIPC and Ministry of Trade and Industry were in attendance.
GUTA threw more light on the issue, after which we were requested to send a written submission on it to the joint committee, which we graciously did and presented to the parliament within one week.
The Joint Committee promised to meet with us again after studying our submission, but to date, nothing has been heard from the parliament.
In view of all the aforesaid, one could clearly see that it is this total failure of our state institutions which are being paid and financed with the tax payers’ money to work that has necessitated the Kumasi episode, in defence of the territories reserved for Ghanaians, which is now being taken over by foreigners with impurity.
However, we wish to caution that if the authorities fail to take decisive and swift action, and decide to hide under the law and use the security agencies to harass intimidate or molest any of our members or a trader who is genuinely fighting to reclaim the territory reserved by law for them, it will be most unfortunate. GUTA will not succumb or kowtow to any authority on this matter until the right thing is done to save Ghana and Ghanaians from the awful situation they ( authorities) have plunged us into as a result of their laxity and inaction.
Much as GUTA would want a peaceful coexistence with foreigners, we do not believe that government’s actions through state institutions should go to favour foreigners to the detriment of its own nationals and also defeat laws that have been passed by the government itself. Ghana as at now is not a colony of any other nation in the world.
All Ghanaians can attest to the fact that it is the attitude of our state actors that has led to the emergence of the illegal small scale mining (Galamsey) in the country, which we all saw the serious damages caused to our environment in terms of our forests, water bodies, farm lands etc. and the huge sums of the tax payers’ money that should have been channelled into our national development and growth, which has been wasted in the exercise to stop the menace, reclaim the land and restore the environment, after the foreigners have taken away our minerals for free.
We are also witnesses to the spate of cybercrimes, armed robberies, kidnappings and rape, which involves many foreigners, especially, Nigerians living in Ghana.
And instead of the Nigeria High Commissioner in Ghana to admonish his citizens living in Ghana to abide by our laws, he makes unguarded statements unbecoming of a diplomat, to provoke citizens of his host country.
On this note, we wish to admonish the Nigeria High Commissioner to be circumspect in his pronouncements on such issues.
“What he must know is that ECOWAS, is not a state but an association of sovereign states. ECOWAS as an association based on agreement has its rules and regulations that need to be
respected by all citizens of member states without any reservation.
The laws of all member states too, have to be respected and complied with by any foreigner (ECOWAS and Non.ECOWAS).
This explains why the Nigeria government did the honourable thing by deporting four Ghanaians who flouted the laws of Nigeria, which of course deserve commendation for
doing the right thing.
We believe the time has come for the state to act and it is today and now. No any other day, no lip service any more.
MR. ALPHA A. SHABAN
GENERAL SECRETARY 0201264089