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Member of Parliament for Assin Central Constituency Kennedy Ohene Agyapong says interest rates charged by banks in Ghana are too high, thereby raising the cost of doing business in the country.
As a result, he continues, Ghanaian traders will not be able to compete with their counterparts from India, China and Nigeria who access loans at lower rates.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP was contributing to a statement tabled by Manhyia North MP Collins Owusu Amankwah on the floor of the House over the involvement of foreigners in retail trade.
“The reality is that it is very easy for a Nigerian to knock Ghanaians out of business,” said Mr Agyapong, a known businessman, on Thursday, July 18 “because our interest rates are so high and in India, China and Nigeria their interest rates are not high.”
He revealed that while banks in Ghana are charging between 22 and 30 per cent as interests on loans, the aforementioned countries are charging as low as 5 and 2 per cent.
He therefore said the solution to getting foreigners out of retail trade is not physically assaulting them but for government to ask banks to reduce their interest rates further.
“I personally believe that we should find a way to protect Ghanaian businesses and the only way we can do that is to lower interest rates.”
In admonishing traders to tread cautiously in confronting their foreign counterparts doing business in the country, Mr Agyapong asked them to rather take their anger to the banks by boycotting loans for these same banks to sit up.
“If everybody will sit for about three months without taking loans, these banks will sit up.”
Some Ghanaian dealers in the Suame spare parts enclave recently forced the closure of shops owned by foreigners, particularly Nigerians.
They claimed the foreigners were engaged in illegal trade as they are not by law entitled to do retail business.
But Ken Agyapong fears that same treatment could be meted out to Ghanaians who appear to travel more than any other on the continent.
“So, we have to tread cautiously the way we handle this issue. If not, if they start to retaliate it will be a serious repercussion to us.”