President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said government is working to ensure strict enforcement of the country’s laws to discourage foreigners from engaging in retail business in the country.
The President said he sides with the Ghana Union of Traders Association’s (GUTA) interpretation of the country’s trade laws that only locals can work in the retail sector.
He however said he does not agree with people taking the law into their own hands to enforce the laws.
“[Member of] GUTA are right in their interpretation of the laws of our country. The laws of our country, until they are changed, have banned foreigners from engaging in retail trade in our country as well as activities in our markets reserved those for Ghanaians. So if people who are not Ghanaians are involved in it, people are entitled to get agitated about it,” the president said.
President Akufo-Addo made the statement while addressing journalists at the Jubilee House on Friday at this year’s media encounter.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and particularly Nigerian traders in the country have been in bad terms following series of actions taken by GUTA to stop the Nigerians from trading within the retail space, most of it involving forceful closure of their shops.
There have been calls for the two to meet and resolve their challenges to work cordially but GUTA has expressed its unwillingness to be part of such meeting.
The Nigerian traders have however insisted that the ECOWAS protocol which allows the free movement of people, goods and services in West African countries also allows them to trade in Ghana.
But President Akufo-Addo is advocating for strict enforcement of the country’s laws that bar foreigners from trading in the retail space.
“What we need to do is to be more rigid in enforcing the law. Be more strict about the enforcement of the law and I’m hoping that the measures that have been put in place with the support of GUTA as they begin to work now, will make it possible and therefore bring down the decimal. The Nigerians cannot complain about our enforcement of our own laws. They do it in their country. There is nothing discriminatory about it,” he said.
“What I think [and] I’m hoping that we could put some kind of a handle on, is people taking the law into their own hands. That is why I made that intervention with GUTA and the leadership that they cannot take the law into their own hands by just closing down shops, there is no future in that,” Akufo-Addo added.