Trade Ministry condemns GUTA for 'force' closure of foreign retail shops in Kumasi

BY GRAPHIC.COM.GH - Oct 31, 2019 at 2:05pm 100

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The government has condemned the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) for encouraging their members to close shops that belong to Nigerian nationals in Kumasi, as a retaliation to the closure of the Nigeria-Benin border.

In a radio interview on Accra based Starr FM on Thursday, the Deputy Minister of Trade, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah said unlawful act by GUTA members could trigger a bigger trade impasse between Ghana and Nigeria.

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He said the sheer size of Nigeria’s economy requires that some amount of tact is applied when dealing with their citizens in Ghana.

“Their economy is six times ours, why go fighting them? When you need to appeal for their support. I want GUTA to understand that whether they like it or not, we need other economies to support what we do here. I’m pleading with GUTA, just take your time and let’s find a way to resolve the issue. They don’t need to go trading blows. If you trade blows, you only get the bigger guys to outsmart you,” Mr Ahenkorah said.

GUTA members in Kumasi on Wednesday went round and closed some shops which belong to Nigerian nationals.

The incident happened at Alarbar, the Adehyeman Gardens area and Kejetia.

In reacting to the Deputy Minister’s comment in the radio interview, the GUTA Financial Secretary in the Ashanti Region, Maxwell Bamfoh said their members will return to the markets in Kumasi to continue the closure of retail shops, which belong to foreigners.

He said they were doing that in reaction to government's failure to enforce the law which bans foreigners from engaging in retail trade.

He added that he was disappointed at the comment of the Deputy Minister of Trade.

But, Mr Ahenkorah said shutting down the shops is not the appropriate means of redress.

On his part, the Manhyia Divisional Police Commander, ACP Kwaku Boah advised GUTA members not to take the law into their own hands.

He urged them to use the appropriate means to address their grievances.