The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) has expressed its dissatisfaction over alleged attempts by Parliament to review the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 2013 (Act 865) to exempt Nigerian retailers from paying a $1 million capital requirement under the Act to facilitate trade in Ghana.
This Act, if reviewed and consequently passed, would enable Nigerian traders to ply their trade in Ghana’s retail market – a development which is currently not permissible under Ghana’s constitution.
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin early this month visited the Nigerian House of Representatives where he announced that Ghana’s Parliament was in the process of reviewing the GIPC Act 2013 (Act 865). This, he noted, would end the longstanding trade impasse between retailers from both countries.
GUTA, in reacting to the announcement, disclosed that the decision was taken without their knowledge, describing it as wrong on the part of Parliament to take that decision without consulting the trading community in Ghana.
At a press conference held on Wednesday, President of GUTA, Dr Obeng stressed that “Parliament does not represent itself, hence, the need for the trading community to be consulted before taking any action in that regard. But we were not consulted.”
GUTA, he continued, “will not allow anyone to amend the GIPC law to favor other nationals at the detriment of Ghanaians,” adding that GUTA is prepared to face any consequences that may arise with their reaction to the news of foreigners invading the retail space.
He intimated that the “GIPC law as it stands now has helped pulled breaks on the massive infiltration by foreigners into the space reserved for Ghanaians.
Speaker Insult on Traders
GUTA also accused the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin of allegedly insulting the Ghanaian trading community by describing them as opportunists when they raised concerns about an influx of foreign traders into Ghana’s retail market.
In reacting to the statement, GUTA President said, “It’s very unfortunate. We don’t deserve to be insulted by our own Parliament. We are the reason for which Parliament is set and nobody can impose anything on the people of Ghana.”
“Hon Bagbin,” they challenged, “was part of those who made this law in their time and so it is an indictment on him and for that matter, any other person to call traders opportunists when we are referring to the laws that they have prepared. We deem it as an insult for us to be called opportunists in our own land.”
Describing the proposed review as “retrogressive and spiteful on the face of Ghana’s trading community,” Dr. Obeng intimated that Ghanaian traders will explore all options available including protests to preserve the retail trade sector.
“We will resist any attempt to take away the only retail market the 1992 Constitution grants us. No attempts by the Eight Parliament through the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to review or change the GIPC Act that ensures foreign retailers including Nigerians, pay a minimum capital of $1 million. We will never sit back and watch this happen. GUTA is prepared for a nationwide protest should this happen,” he added.