More than 40 shops belonging to foreigners engaged in retail trading in Koforidua have been locked up by members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) in the Eastern Region.
The members yesterday (September 20), went on a demonstration to register their displeasure about the continuous involvement of foreigners in retail trade in the New Juaben South Municipality. They proceeded to lock shops of foreigners in an attempt to have their issues resolved.
According to reports, the peaceful demonstration almost turned violent when the owner of Mighty Light Plus Shop located adjacent to the Koforidua Central Police station broke the locks placed on his shop and started trading; an action that infuriated the GUTA members who heckled him and forced him out of his shop.
The angry traders who protested carried placards with inscriptions such as “Obey Act 865 section 27A now”, “Police must prevent illegal trading”, “Foreigners are prohibited from retailing our markets” and “We shall police our own market”, among others.
The Regional Public Relations Officer of the Association, Darlen Nana Boateng, in an interview said members will use all legal means to prevent foreigners from engaging in retail trading in the region.
Over the years, there have been disagreements between Ghanaian traders and their counterparts from other countries, particularly Nigerians.
The traders have argued that Ghana’s laws do not allow foreigners the right to engage in retail trade within the country, as their activities adversely affect local retailers.
The government subsequently set up a presidential committee to scrutinize all foreigners engaging in trading activities in the country.
This has led to the closure of several shops belonging to foreign retailers across the country. But last week, GUTA threatened to resume locking up shops of foreigners because of what it terms stalled negotiations under the Joint Implementation Taskforce.