Traders in the retail sector have given government a week’s ultimatum to fulfill its promise of flushing out foreigners from the local markets or face their wrath.
They noted that if government fails to remove the foreigners from the markets, they would hit the streets of Accra naked to register their displeasure.
Adjoa Adjeiwaa, spokesperson of traders at the Central Business District- Kantamanto, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Okiashie and Tudu, said though government, through the Minister of Trade and Industry, had set up a national task force to address the matter, non-Ghanaians were operating in the retail sector against the laws of Ghana.
Act 478 (1994) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) stipulates that petty-trading, hawking, selling and all small-scale retail activities are reserved for Ghanaians, however, most open markets have been invaded by foreign nationals who undertake petty trading.
Foreigners operating in Ghana’s open markets were expected to stop their activities by June 20, 2012 or incur the wrath of the Ministry of Trade, which threatened to apply the law after several protests by Ghanaian retailers.
Nonetheless, the three-month ultimatum for non-Ghanaians to vacate the market places ended with just a one day show during which the task force locked the shops of foreigners,” said Madam Adjeiwaa.
She stated that local traders recorded high sales on the day that the shops of the non-Ghanaian traders were closed.
She alleged that since January, this year, the GIPC had registered 34 Chinese companies that were operating in the open market “but our leaders have turned a blind eye to this development.”
Elizabeth Amoako-Atta, Chief Executive of Lady Ventures, stated that the Chinese and Nigerians, who are the major culprits, could be blamed for the weakening cedi and the rise in the cost of shops.
She explained that the non-Ghanaians have the financial capacity to purchase the dollar at a higher rate “and this is why the dollar is always going up.”
Mrs Amoako-Atta said, “Shop owners are demanding higher rents because the Chinese can pay any amount that is quoted.
“If by next week government does come out on this issue we will hit the streets of Accra naked and we will be joined by male counterparts. Our freedom is being trampled upon in our own country. Why?”
Kojo Amoateng, the chairman of shoe dealers stated that “we are not afraid of competition just that we want to ensure that government puts a stop to the perpetuation of illegality.”
By Emelia Ennin Abbey