Ghanaian traders advised to refrain from locking up foreign-owned shops at Opera Square

The Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), has cautioned members of the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA), to desist from locking up shops owned by foreigners engaging in retail trade as they wait for the government’s solutions to the impasse.

Organizer of the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association, Hajia Moena Buari

This is coming after GEDA gave the government a two-week ultimatum to vet the business documents of foreigners in retail trade at the Opera Square in Accra; else they will lock up the shops again.

The group had earlier locked up foreign-owned shops particularly those owned by Nigerians, who they allege were trading without business operating permits, even though their activities being illegal per Ghana’s laws.

A Presidential Committee was set up to settle the matter. This led to the reopening of the shops pending the report of the committee.

According to the members of GEDA, the government has failed to implement the GIPC Act 865 which bars foreigners from engaging in Ghana’s retail sector.

The Association posted notices on the foreign-owned shops which demanded that the committee must replicate the vetting of documents at the Opera Square in Accra within two weeks, or else they will lock up the shops of foreigners.

The Organizer of the Association, Hajia Moena Buari, told Accra-based Citi FM that “we know that there has been a Committee set up by the government to look into the affairs of foreigners concerning their documentation; and whatever is empowering them to work in the trade sector. As we speak, it is like the committee has done their work at Circle, but we have not heard anything so we have decided to give them notices to caution them to leave our trade sector, if they fail to do that, we shall lock their shops.”

However, the Executive Secretary of the Ghana International Trade Commission, Frank Agyekum, called on the traders to be patient as authorities work to resolve the matter.

“You do realize that Ghana is not the only country with laws on foreigners’ trade, so these things would have to be looked at holistically, especially in this era of AfCFTA. Some of these things are going to come up very seriously. I can only plead with our compatriots not to go ahead with their actions, but to petition the right authorities for the way forward.”

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