A call to re-open undocumented shops belonging to foreign traders at the Suame Market in Kumasi has been met with an angry response from Ghanaian traders.
A press conference organized by the Nigerian Community mentioned how the closure of shops owned by their members is taking a toll on their livelihoods.
The government of Ghana in October last year dispatched a taskforce to crackdown on foreigners violating laws on retail trade.
At least 90 shops belonging to foreigners particularly Nigerians were closed at the Suame Market sparking tensions in the area.
“They [the taskforce] did not close any other shops apart from Nigerians”, …said Chief Tony Oneagolu, a former leader of the Nigerian Community in Kumasi.
“For those of us living in Ashanti things are getting worst, our members are dying and you know some people’s life savings are in the shops. We are pleading with the President to get the shops reopened”, he further added.
Reacting to the development, leadership of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) in the Ashanti Region rejected the call describing the conduct of the Nigerian Community as “unfortunate”.
For Ashanti Regional Chairman of GUTA, Anthony Oppong the call to re-open the shops is an attempt by the Nigerian Community is an act of blackmail the Ghana government and make the country look bad in the eyes of the international community.
“The call for the president to review the exercise is an insult to the president and the people. It [makes it] look as Andrew that’s the way we want to go, despite the fact that we are associated with so many international bodies. Our law, the constitution of this country, takes precedence over all those laws and treaties that they’ve signed on to, so they can’t dictate to us what Ghana must do with our laws.”
Mr. Anthony Oppong also alleged that their checks have shown that there are a number of foreigners who are still engaging in retail trade in various areas in the region.
He is thus urging the Presidential Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade to as a matter of urgency begin the second phase of the exercise to flush out all foreigners trading illegally in the country.
“We are, by this press conference, calling on government – we mean the Presidential Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade – to start the second phase of the exercise as soon ‘ll possible because we’ve waited for [too] long. The first phase ended somewhere in October 2020 and by then we were heading towards elections, so the general view was that we should exercise some patience for the elections to be over.
“After the election, there was a court case, then the president started constituting his government. But it looks5 as if these people [foreign traders] are taking us for a ride. As I am speaking now, if you go to Akyamfour market, Alabar, and Yaa Achiaa school, you will see them displaying their goods in front of the locked-up shops. If Chief Onyeagolu says I am lying, he should come right now with me and the media, and we will point to those operating now. Some are operating on motorbikes, some are going round distributing goods in vans to areas as far as villages. So they shouldn’t let Ghana look bad in the eyes of the international community.”
Source: Daily Mail GH