The Abossey Okai spare parts dealers association is calling on government to speedily implement the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) under the GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865) to prevent foreigners in the country from engaging in retail trade.
This comes after members of the association closed about 150 shops belonging to foreigners engaged in retail businesses at Abossey Okai in Accra on Wednesday.
According to the group, the presidential committee on retail trade set up by the government to vet the operating documents of foreigners in the retail business has failed to act at Abossey Okai.
In an interview with Co-Chairman of the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association, Nana Kwabena Peprah called on the government to immediately rid the retail business of foreigners.
“We know how even the law allows a foreigner to apply in retail trade. They go through a process of registering at the GIPC for a certificate and where they can ply their trade. No trader in Ghana speaks against Melcom, Max Mart, and other retail outlets. It is simply because they are going through the rules that govern trading in Ghana. All that we are saying is that the GIPC law is implemented because the current situation is affecting us”, he said.
The non-implementation of the law is manifested in tensions in local traders locking up shops of foreign traders among other clashes.
Police have normally stepped in to calm tensions and protect foreign traders.
For instance, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and Nigerian traders in the country have in the past been in bad terms following series of actions taken by GUTA to stop the Nigerians from trading within the retail space.
Section 27 (1) of the GIPC Act of states that any person who is not a citizen or an enterprise that is not wholly-owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place.
But the government has shied away from enforcing the law opting instead for diplomacy in handling the resulting tensions.
What the law says
Section 27 of the GIPC Act talks about the entry, admission and protection of investment as well as the activities reserved for Ghanaians and Ghanaian owned enterprises.
(1) A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly-owned by citizen shall not
invest or participate in—
a. the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling
of goods in a stall at any place;
b. the operation of taxi or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of less than
c. the operation of a beauty salon or a barbershop;
d. the printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication
e. the production of exercise books and other basic stationery;
f. the retail of finished pharmaceutical products;
g. the production, supply, and retail of sachet water; and
h. all aspects of pool betting business and lotteries, except football pool.