Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) resumed their clampdown on foreigners engaging in retail trading within the West African country, which has been a hotbed for hostility against small businesses owned by non-indigenes.
The trade union has been speaking against the retail operations of foreigners, stating that their venture is against the country’s constitution, ‘Act 865 section 27A’.
Nigeria, foreigners breach retail business exclusive list for Ghanaians
Findings by Ripples Nigeria showed that based on the Act, the foreigners are encroaching on enterprises reserved for citizens or meant to be wholly owned by Ghanaian citizens.
This has led to the closure of over 40 shops around the eastern region of Koforidua, on Monday, Ghanaian media outlet, Citi News, reported.
Checks by Ripples Nigeria showed that ‘Act 865 section 27A’ states that only Ghanaians have the right to own enterprises involved in sale of goods or provision of services in a market.
Part of the exclusive list for retail business includes petty trading, hawking, as well as selling of goods in a stall at any location. The Act also states car hire service, such as taxi, with less than twenty-five vehicles shouldn’t be operated by a foreigner.
Non-Ghanaians are also forbid from operating beauty salon, barber shop, or printing of recharge scratch cards for network providers.
Other small businesses listed are, “the production of exercise books and other basic stationery, the retail of finished pharmaceutical products, as well as the production, supply and retail of sachet water, not leaving out all aspects of pool betting business and lotteries, aside from football pool.” Ghana Business Regulatory Reforms said on its portal.
Trade union playing role of Police
The members of GUTA who were pictured carrying placards, inscribed that the Police should stop foreigners from conducting illegal businesses, and ensure the non-Ghanaian traders obey Act 865 section 27A.
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In one of the placards, GUTA said it will police its markets, and “Foreigners are prohibited from retailing our markets.” Although they have faced resistance from the yet-to-be identified foreigners.
GUTA’s Public Relations Officer, Darlen Nana Boateng, said enforcing their retail business act has been chaotic, with a foreigner insisting on opening his shop after the trade union closed it.
“Our members shut down a shop but when the business owner came in, he opened the shop and insisted that he will work and whatever it takes, he will not comply with the directive.”
Boateng said businesses are not being destroyed, but “foreign retailers should just comply with the law.” and no one is allowed to “take the law into their own hands and be resisting the laws of Ghana.”
In the past three years, Nigerian-owned businesses have been experiencing confrontation from GUTA, with the faceoff hitting a climax when President Muhammadu Buhari shutdown Nigeria’s land border in Q4 2019.