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06.12.2007 Business & Finance

We are not against foreign traders - GUTA


Mr George Kwaku Ofori, Acting President of the Ghana Union of Traders' Associations (GUTA), on Wednesday said the persistent call on government to look into the activities of foreign traders was not meant to close down their shops but enforce laws on retail trade by foreigners.

"Foreigners in the country subject our business laws to all forms of abuse, which if not checked immediately, will have adverse effect on us as a people and a nation," he said.

In a message read on his behalf at a press briefing by the Union in reaction to allegations made by the Nigeria Union of Traders' Associations, Ghana (NUTAG), he said some of the foreign traders in the country registered to operate their businesses as free zone companies but later tended to import and divert their goods onto the local market and retail them without paying the necessary tax.

"This act explains why their goods are cheap on the market," he added.

He said the attempt to link GUTA to threats to deprive foreigners of their legitimate business and also its gross disrespect for ECOWAS Protocol was uncalled for.

"With their (NUTAG) brouhaha and the persistent reference to the ECOWAS Protocol and treaties and seeking to hide behind them, we wish to tell them that we are very much aware of all international treaties concerning trade."

Mr Ofori said as far as GUTA was concerned, it never organised a demonstration as the NUTAG had alleged, but rather a protest rally to address the grievances of its members.

He reiterated that the allegation by NUTAG that GUTA owed it five billion cedis was false saying, "We conducted investigations into the matter and as far as GUTA is concerned, no affiliate association owes the foreigners a pesewa."

Source: GNA