Irate Ghanaian traders close shops of foreign retailers at Opera Square again

Members of the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA) locked up shops which belonged to foreigners at the Opera Square in Accra.

Shops closed

The closure of the stores caused a standoff which has led to the police inviting the leadership of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Nigerian Union of Traders invited by the police for talks on ways to end the impasse.

The Accra Region Operations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent, Kwasi Ofori, told Accra-based Joy FM that, “moves have been put in place to ensure sanity prevails. We have also invited both parties on the best ways to resolve this matter before it escalates”.

This is not the first time Ghanaian retailers have closed shops of Nigerian traders in Ghana.

Last month, about 17 shops were locked up at the same location. They were immediately opened after the police intervened.

However, this time around the closed shops remained closed as at the time the police authorities had left the scene.

Retail traders in the Ashanti Regional capital and Accra have often accused foreigners, Nigerians especially, of engaging in retail trade, contrary to Section 27 of GIPC Act 865 which prevents non-Ghanaians from engaging in retail trade in the jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, President of the Nigerian Union of Traders in Ghana, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji “Foreigners, even Nigerians are aware of the ECOWAS treaty on trade and we think if there is any problem we can sit and talk than engage in such an action,” he said.

However, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has accused the police of unfair treatment and failing to enforce the law.

President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng said that “These foreign retailers have found a loophole in our retail laws and are capitalising on that. We have failed as a country to preserve what belongs to Ghanaians. We will not sit and watch them take over our market. We don’t hate Nigerians, we just want the laws to work.”

Last week, the Majority Leader backed law enforcement agencies to go all out and enforce the country’s law barring foreigners from engaging in retail trade.

“In its dealings with other government shall protect and promote the interest of Ghana…I have heard people saying that Ghana has ratified conventions that is true that the conventions cannot supplant our constitution. In the sub-region, the ECOWAS protocol provides for free movement of goods and services.

“When the goods arrive at any destination the laws of the country provides that retail business should be in the hands of citizens. It is so in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire so let nobody say that we have ratified ECOWAS protocol, we should allow citizens from other countries including the sub-region and the Chinese, Turkish and others to engage in retail trade business,” he said on the floor of Parliament on Thursday. 

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