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26.06.2019 Feature Article

GUTA has been pampered from the word go

GUTA has been pampered from the word go

The dynamism in global trade has shifted drastically. One's country's market used to be heavily dominant by its citizens only. However, that's not the case in recent years at all.

Production value chains and trade liberalizations has changed the status quo making it a MUST for an open market.

Our country has gone beyond these lines. For Christ sake, we are heading to the 22nd century my people!!! Our markets have been opened since time immemorial. The British, the Danish, the Portuguese, the Germans (Trans - Volta) got wind and hold of it in the early centuries (Thus: EU). The EU have come back again now with a new and stronger Trade Agreement in 2015/2016 there about which was signed by Hon. Hannah Serwaa Tetteh the Foreign Affairs Minister in Ex-President Mahama's administration.

The 21th century saw the Americans coming strongly at us. The current AGOA is a typical example.

This is why Trade-Link has extended an invitation to the US ambassador for an interview. They have called back expressing interest anyway.

However, in very recent times, we have shifted to the Chinese because they are offering better deals than the Americans are offering. Mexico and other Latin American countries are knocking on our doors with speed.

It's now time for Africans to master-Trade amongst us. Has this not been the call since civilization in Africa? Today, we have the Continental Free Trade Agreement rectified by almost every AU member state except for Nigeria and two other nations. Hopefully, they will follow suit soon.

How then do we achieve this if we as a people are refusing to share our space with our neighbors? These neighbors' are not aliens to us at all. Infact, we are closer to them than to our immediate neighbors thus; Togo, Benin on the East and Ivory Coast on the West.

We have refused to think as a people! We have refused to think outside the box!! We have refused to be innovative!!! Our markets are dying. Our ways of trading have gone porous. If we continue on this tangent, what morale justification would we have for the CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE SECRETARIAT to be cited in Accra as our leaders are currently advocating for?

The action GUTA is taking now is not the best way to protect our markets in my candid opinion.

GUTA is being lazy! GUTA is being primitive!! GUTA is being pes3 min ku mi nya!!!(Thus; Greedy) and their actions and inactions is going against our image as a nation and not just against far international laws but our nuclear-block (Ecowas) Trade laws.

Lazy thinkers and primitive thinkers act the way GUTA is acting today.
GUTA' approach in dealing with issues such as this is offensive and very wrong. It is morally wrong and wrong within the Trade Laws which binds us as a block. If one of GUTA's complain is that our neighbors are not paying the right duties and in some instances under declaring;- I still insist that their actions now is not the right way to go.
It may also be true that, out of 200 shops sampled by an independent task force, only 2 Nigerian Shops were able to produce duty receipts.
In my opinion, let us allow the government agencies deal with these issues. They will approach it diplomatically that the traders will. This is why these agencies have been set up and this is why they exist.

GRA, GIPC, Trade Ministry and other agencies are mandated to ensure that these irregularities within the system are managed and not GUTA and its members. GUTA's frustrations should be targeted at government and not our neighbors who are only here with us to do business and Trade with us.
If I were a Nigerian Unionist or Trade Leader here in Ghana, I will go back to Nigeria and place a camera on Ghanaians doing business there and rent a media space here in Ghana to showcase for all to see that Ghanaians are also flouting the '' so called'' internal retail and trade laws of theirs.

I am convinced that Ghanaian Traders in Nigeria are not angels. Why are we not hearing them scream and being kicked out like GUTA is doing? We have created the ambiance for the Ghanaian Trader to cry at the least situation instead of energizing them and equipping them to equally go out there to do business. The few bold Ghanaian Traders out there are making it BIG! We are scare-birds! We are scared of competition. The leadership of GUTA seems to be taken advantage of this loophole to bark at the wind in order to look good and active before its members.

Ponder over the below scenario;
If a tea seller who is an Ivorian based in Ghana sells cheaper and also provides richer tea than me hence attracting many customers and making more revenue than me; I don't go attacking her and start looking into her rights to sell in Ghana at the first place and then again look into how inferior her ingredients are and whether she's paying the daily municipal fee to the municipal assemble. THAT IS NOT MY DUTY!

What I have to do is to up my game and be innovative enough to rather show her that this is my country and my people and that I know them better and therefore understands their needs more than the Ivorian seller does. For all u know, the Ghanaian tea seller only fetches two tea spoons of Milo plus five drops of milk. The Ivorian does double/triple and adds a smile to it. The caveat here is that, the Ivorian tea seller is giving her customers what they want whilst the Ghanaian tea seller is doing little to excite and entice her customers.

By that, if I decide to take the approach of an investigative body (as we most often see GUTA doing) and start mishandling my next door tea seller; my actions may raise regional tensions. Tea sellers who are of Ghanaian descent who are selling in Ivory Coast will also be targeted and the result will be very catastrophic. This can lead to a REGIONAL TRADE UNREST!

There are much better ways of handling these issues than GUTA's is seen doing.

For starters, my advice to GUTA will be for them to engage literates and know-how's to draft trade agreements as an input to government's overall trade proposal agreement to other nations. If this is signed just as we are seen signing others every now and then, our traders can also enjoys other market spaces. Our internal markets will not only be their safe haven.

GUTA Executives need to be up and doing with regards to creating trading opportunities for their members on the wider African Market. They will need to take full advantage of the Continental Trade Agreement and identify the strengths, capacity and areas of specialization of their members and target member states who lacks them and move in as a block to invade these markets because either GUTA likes it or not, other member states are speedily getting ready to invade ours. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING GUTA or any other group can do about it! IT IS SIGNED AND SEALED! Though it is subjected to reviews, this is not bound to happen any time soon.

The next advice will be for them to buy me a suit-tie and a take me out for dinner to enjoy myself for giving them the above advice 😯😉😇 and probably break my bones after the dinner for taking a chide at them. Long live Ghana, Long live Africa!
Let's meet at the upcoming Turkish Trade Delegation scheduled to hit the country for exhibitions and Trade Summit on the 3rd to 4th July at the plush Kempinski Hotel. This is free. There is also a free gala dinner night however; you will have to register ahead. Use the email below to register your interest and I will personally submit it to my good friend; Mr. M. Bugra Karamis – The Commercial Counselor for Turkey in Ghana at the Turkish Embassy to reserve you a place.

Selasi Koffi Ackom
An Nkrumahist!
[email protected]

Selasi Koffi Ackom
Selasi Koffi Ackom, © 2019

The author has 7 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: SelasiKoffiAckom

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