The Eastern Regional branch of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says it plans to seek a court order to back the closure of foreign retail shops in the region.
On Monday, September 20 over 40 shops belonging to foreigners engaging in retail trading in Koforidua were locked up by members of GUTA in the Eastern Region.
The action was embarked on during a peaceful demonstration to register their displeasure about the continuous involvement of foreigners in retail trade in the region.
Speaking to Citi News, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Eastern Regional GUTA, Darlen Nana Boateng, said the court order will help to permanently stop foreigners from engaging in the retail business.
“Unfortunately, we meet one party, and they refer us to the other. We initially met with the Police who referred us to the Immigration Service, they also referred us to the Ministry of Trade. All parties keep tossing us around. It is as though we are not structured enough.”
“We intend to present our case before the court, hopefully, secure an injunction, and have the court order them to come with the appropriate documents before they can come and trade in our country, or simply abandon our markets.”
Over the years, there have been various disagreements between Ghanaian traders and their counterparts from other countries, particularly Nigerians.
The local traders have argued that per Ghana's laws, foreigners have no right to engage in retail trade within the country, as their activities affect the local retailers negatively.
The government subsequently set up a presidential committee to properly scrutinize all foreigners engaging in trading activities in the country.
This has led to the closure of several shops belonging to foreign retailers across the country.
But last week, GUTA threatened to resume locking up shops of foreigners because of stalled negotiations under the Joint Implementation Taskforce.
GUTA's action in the past has been targeted at the Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG).
Though there is free trade among ECOWAS countries, Ghana's laws say a 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.
There is also a $1 million minimum capital requirement for foreigners doing business in Ghana, in line with GIPC Act.