Johnnie Hughes writes: Of Trade, not aid: The bitter reality!

In the beginning it was the Nigerians. Then came the Lebanese. Then the Syrians and Indians followed. Then the Liberians joined in the fray after they felt safe seeking asylum here. Now the Chinese have joined and there is a total takeover! RETAIL BUSINESS is no longer the preserve of Ghanaians. And it didn’t start yesterday and it won’t end by the time you are done reading this piece. Yet, we have had Ministers of Trade & Industry and now we have even added a Minister for Business Development. Is this ‘competition’? And is it healthy at all? To be candid, I don’t think so! I don’t subscribe to xenophobic ideologies, but then, our trade laws are crystal clear on the opportunities and limits available to whoever wants to participate within Ghana’s business settings. Questions:

  1. What does our Ministers of Trade & Industry do in the peoples’ interest? Do they care?
  2. How do they do what they do? Are they just obsessed with external trade to the detriment of internal trade? Which is their primary constituency?
  3. Is this trend of ‘foreigners’ taking over retail business not a worry to them?
  4. Must we wake up one day to realise that our mothers, brothers and sisters have lost their rightful chance to make an honest living before we act in a remedial manner?
  5. How long must we complain before something resembling a lasting solution is done?
  6. Is there an inter-sectoral collaboration between for example, the Local Government Ministry and Trade Ministry?
  7. Are we just interested in issuing business operating permits and collecting taxes?
  8. We sit aloof and stare as our bread and crumbs get taken away and yet we claim to care for the people?
  9. How do we expect small and medium scale enterprises and entrepreneurs to sign up for high interest loans from the banks when there is no fair playing field?
  10. What hit us: an articulated truck? An electric train? Or an armoured vehicle?
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Too many questions on mind. Too many issues to tackle. Take a stroll through the various business districts and suburbs and revert with what you find. You will see that we just don’t seem to care about what becomes of us. Just because the affected persons are not closer to the governing class or the corridors of power. I fear that when the time is due for us all to rise to be counted, it may be too late. The unemployment bomb is ticking and very soon it will blow up in our faces! Hmmmm]]>