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29.01.2010 Business & Finance

GIPC taskforce queries foreign traders in retailing

By Kofi Adu Domfeh
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The National Taskforce monitoring activities of non-Ghanaians in the trading sector has since its inauguration six months ago, queried the operational status of over twenty foreign traders in the Greater Accra region.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), George Aboagye, says whilst some foreign businesses have ceased to operate in the retail sector, others have been roped into the tax net.

He was speaking to Luv Fm at the inauguration of the Ashanti regional taskforce in Kumasi. The taskforce has the objective of ensuring foreign entrepreneurs comply with the country's investment regulations.

Mr. Aboagye observed the operations of the taskforce have brought about an unintended benefit of foreign companies honoring their tax obligations. “If your work permit is outstanding, you pay and get your work permit and regularize your immigration status within the country. Then if you're not registered with the GIPC, you have to do so.

“But the interesting aspect of it all is the tax contribution - VAT, IRS – which keep coming up as they'll normally be in default and being foreigners, you cannot come trade here and not pay your taxes”, the GIPC boss noted.

The newly set up Ashanti regional taskforce would be monitoring the activities of non-Ghanaians in the trading sector and ensure foreign entrepreneurs in retail business formalize their operations.

Chairman of the regional taskforce, George Kusi, tells Luv Fm the body will not hesitate to apply the necessary sanctions if such traders fail to comply with the country's investment laws. He however says the taskforce, in its bid to protect local business interests, will avoid confrontation with the foreign traders.

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is playing a lead role in the work of the inter-agency taskforce. National President, George Ofori, said the exercise is crucial to keep Ghanaians in employment.

“People think that GUTA is against foreign investors; that is not the case. We rather want investors who will do the right thing, we don't want investors who will come and flout our laws because of the Ghanaian hospitality.

“Now when you go to the various shops, people are just sitting in their shops doing practically nothing. So for how long can we sit down for some of these things to happen?”, Mr. Ofori queried.

Foreigners interested in venturing the local retail business require a capital investment of 300 thousand dollars in equity of goods as well as employ ten Ghanaians.

Kofi Adu Domfeh
Broadcast Journalist
Multimedia Group Limited
Luv 99.5Fm/Nhyira 104.5Fm
Kumasi-Ghana
Tel: +233-243-157-619
http://kadafricana.blogspot.com

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