The Vice President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, was quoted by the media yesterday, as saying that the retail trade in Ghana was a preserve for Ghanaians and not foreigners. Speaking at a meeting with the executive of the Ghana-China Friendship Association in Accra, Mr. Mahama said information available to him indicates that some Chinese merchants in the country were gradually moving away from the wholesale trade, and venturing into that of retailing.
“By law, retailing is reserved for indigenous Ghanaian entrepreneurs, while foreigners are restricted to the wholesale sector. But some foreigners, especially Chinese wholesale traders, are said to have extended their operations into the retail sector, and this has generated protests from local traders”, the Vice President was quoted as saying.
We at The Chronicle think Mr. John Mahama hit the nail right on the head because foreigners are really taking over the retail trade in this country. Just recently, we carried a story from Sekondi-Takoradi, where retail traders in the region expressed similar concerns, and have subsequently called on the government to intervene, before the foreigners push them out of business.
It is important to note that it is not the Chinese who are gradually taking over the retail trade from the indigenous Ghanaians, but also guilty are Lebanese and Nigerian traders domiciled in Ghana, just to mention a few.
Though their actions infringe upon the laws of this country, no government has mustered the courage to bring them to book, for fear of being accused of driving away investors. As noted by the Vice President, the Chinese government has extended a helping hand to this country in diverse ways. Latest is the support they are providing for the construction of the Bui Hydro dam.
We, however, think this should not blind our government to overlook the blatant flouting of our laws by some foreign nationals in this country. The Chronicle, therefore, calls on the Vice President, who has raised concern over the situation to use his good offices to ensure that the right things are done. If Ghanaians would not be allowed to flout Chinese laws, then there is no need for us to also sit idle whilst they treat our laws with impunity.
Although we are yearning for foreign investment into the country, it should not be in the areas that Ghanaian entrepreneurs have the capacity to handle. We are also calling on the government to ensure that foreigners, who are into wholesale trade in Ghana, have acquired the necessary work permit to do so. We are raising this issue because there are thousands of foreigners who are working in this country, especially in the fishing industry, but do not have the permit or the necessary documentation to stay and work here in Ghana. Every country has the way of protecting its indigenous industry, which Ghana must also do.
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