According to the Ghanaian Times, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has appealed to the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade, to resume operations to close down shops of undocumented foreign retailers.
The development comes amid purported plans by the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) to reject the special dispensation granted them by the Government of Ghana despite a series of diplomatic efforts by both Ghana and Nigeria governments, Ghanaian Times reports.
A statement from Ghanaian Times reads, “This inappropriate attitude of the Nigerian traders in Ghana is not only an insult but also a well-orchestrated ploy to frustrate the committee, state, and people of Ghana. Therefore, we of the Ghana Union of the Traders’ Associations wish to appeal to the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade to, as a matter of urgency resume its operations without any delays as the behaviour of the Nigerian traders has seriously provoked Ghanaian traders and reigniting agitations in the markets.”
Meanwhile, Nkem Tony Onyeagolu, former President for All Nigerians Community- Ashanti Region, has appealed to the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Akufo-Addo to issue a directive for the re-opening of shops owned by Nigerian traders.
Onyeagolu said since the closure of their retail shops by local authorities, things have got worse for some of the Igbo traders in the country.
He explained that the majority of Igbo traders have been victimised by the move and are hard-pressed financially, highly indebted and have not been able to pay off loans they took from financial institutions to run their businesses.
In reaction, NUTAG President, Chukwuemeka Nnaji urged President Akufo-Addo of Ghana, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, ECOWAS Commission and the international community to “urgently intervene and prevent GUTA from attacking our members as they have promised in their last press release.”
He said the current decision by GUTA comes as a surprise since it had been able to appeal to the Inter-Ministerial Committee of both countries to review the issue.
This is to allow “our members who have not registered with the GIPC to stay out the remaining days, months or years of their tenancy agreement after which they are supposed to pack out because the rent for those shops shall not be renewed and will not be allowed to rent shops anywhere in Ghana.”
NUTAG had been ordered to collect all the business documents of members, including the tenancy agreements of the respective shops or stalls.
According to the Nigerian union, GUTA’s failure to adhere to the review of the concession granted by the two co-chairmen of Joint Implementation Taskforce (JIT), as well as its threat, is unfortunate.
“We are particularly concerned about this latest threat because GUTA has since 2007 been issuing and carrying out attacks against Nigerian traders in Ghana. The use of such violent measures has not ended for any of the traders from the two brotherly countries.
“We are appealing to the President not to succumb to people who want to railroad him into an exercise which is purely an eviction disguised as concession,” the statement said.
They said if GUTA acts on its threat, thousands of Nigerians will be made to suffer going back to Nigeria with little or nothing as many of them had their shops locked for almost two years.