We are not against foreigners – GUTA

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The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has asked its members in Accra and Kumasi to suspend their strike and open their shops from today.The leaders of GUTA arrived at the decision after they had met with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, in Accra yesterday.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the President of GUTA, Mr George Kweku Ofori, said the minister had assured the members of government’s commitment to tackle the issues the association had raised.

According to him, the minister said there were some issues raised by the association that needed parliamentary discussion and approval, and urged GUTA to be patient as Parliament handled such issues.

The President cited policies such as a special levy of three per cent on imports and the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) by 2.5 per cent as some of the issues that needed to be considered by Parliament.

“We have taken the minister by his word and assurance and want to hold on for a while and see the outcome.

“If we do not hear anything positive, we can assure Ghanaians that we will come back. But in all these, we don’t want to do anything embarrassing except the government gives us the cause to do so,” he said.

Issues discussed at meeting

Mr Ofori stated that issues involving fronting by Ghanaians for foreigners were discussed with the minister, noting that Mr Iddrisu condemned the issues outright and said the laws of Ghana were not in favour of such acts.

“It is important to state our position on this matter that condoning and conniving the act of fronting for foreigners by Ghanaians is condemnable, and we won’t entertain that.

“The issue involving influx of foreign traders competing with the locals in retail trade was also tackled,” Mr Ofori said.

Depreciation of cedi

“We cannot be blamed for the depreciation of the cedi as many have asserted,” Mr Ofori said.

According to him, the foreigners had comparative advantage over the locals in terms of their interest rates; as a result, the locals could not compete with them.

He said the executive of GUTA would meet the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry to discuss further issues for the progress of the nation..

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