GUTA: Gov’ts sleeping on the job in Ghana-Nigeria retail row

The Ghana Traders Union Association (GUTA) has fingered successive governments in what appears to be a friction between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders within the country’s retail sector. For years, there has been some turbulence in the Ghanaian retail space, mainly over who has the right to do business and who does not, especially in the face an ECOWAS treaty, of which Ghana and Nigeria have signed onto. Even though the ECOWAS treaty encourages among other things free trade among member states, Ghanaian local laws, notably the GIPC Act 2013, seeks to reserve some sectors of the economy for the local citizens but the implementation of that law has been back and forth. Some traders at the Suame Magazine in Kumasi last week attacked and locked up some shops belonging to Nigerians in the enclave, igniting the recurring issue which government appears to have been struggling to resolve. Commenting on the issue on TV3’s Saturday morning show, The Key Points, vice president of GUTA, Osei Brogya, said the friction persists because governments over the years have shirk their responsibility of ensuring that the law governing the retail space works. According to him, those who are supposed to enforce the law “are sleeping on their job”.  He noted that his association has been pressing on all governments from Jerry John Rawlings all through to Akufo-Addo to have the GIPC law implemented but to no avail. He explained that much as the Association does not condone any acts of wrongdoing by its members, it behooves the government to do the needful by implementing the law to avert further confrontations. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Traders Association in Kumasi, Chief Kizito Obiora, has disclosed the situation in the Suame Magazine market is currently under control and the Nigerian shops that were close have been opened. He noted that even though there have been assurances from the police and GUTA, there is still fear among some Nigerians doing business in the market. Chief Kizito said the actions of the Ghanaian traders to some extent are justified noting “I would have acted the same way if I were in their shoes”.

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