GUTA blames weak Cedi on ‘illegal’ retailers

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is attributing the sharp depreciation of the cedi against major currencies to illegal activities of foreigners in the retail sector.

GUTA President, George Ofori has cited this as one of the justifications in the renewed drive to flush out foreigners operating in the retail business, emphasizing their threat to the Ghanaian economy.

According to him, the high demand for the dollar to meet the huge imports by non-Ghanaians involved in the retail trade results in scarcity, pushing the exchange rate higher.

“These foreigners come in as manufacturers’ representatives who are here to take commission on behalf of their manufacturing firms in those areas… and so that foreigner could be able to bring in about 400 containers in a year whilst a Ghanaian could afford a maximum of only 20 containers in a year; and after selling their goods, all of them are going to the same exchange market to change the money from cedi to dollars”, he stated.

A national taskforce monitoring activities in the retail business has issued a June 20 ultimatum to foreigners in retail businesses to relocate or face the law.

This directive is an enforcement of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Law, Act 478, clause 18, which stipulates that “the sale of anything whatsoever in the market, petty trading, hawking or selling from a kiosk at any place is a wholly reserved activity for Ghanaians”.

Mr. Ofori said allowing the foreign traders to thrive is inimical to the Ghanaian retailer because “in effect, Ghana is the loser and if our economy is destroyed by these foreigners they will go back and leave the economy for us to repair the damage ourselves”.

He is peeved at the social-economic impact of foreign investors and traders flouting the country’s laws on retail trade.

“The social impact is that the indigenes who are occupying the shops are being kicked out for the foreigners to take over their shops because they’ve not got that much money to pay and occupy the shops”, stated the GUTA President.

Mr. Ofori was however confident the taskforce will succeed in the second attempt to protect local businesses.