Gov’t, GUTA await Nigeria’s position over retail traders’ disagreements

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The Government and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) are awaiting a response from a consultative meeting between the Nigeria Union of Traders, Ghana (NUTAG) and the Nigerian Government over recent trade disagreements.

GUTA and NUTAG, for some time now, have been having a toss over the presence and operations of the latter in the Ghanaian retail space.

The latest was the locking up of some 40 retail shops owned and/or operated by Nigerians in Koforidua on Monday, September 20, 2021.

The shutdown was by GUTA members to express anger over what they called the “escalating numbers of foreigners in the retail business in the country, especially the New Juaben South Municipality.”

GUTA members displayed placards with inscriptions such as; “Obey Act 865 section 27A now,” “The Police must prevent illegal trading,” “Foreigners are prohibited from retailing our markets,” and “We shall police our own market.”

The ministries of Trade of both countries, in the quest to resolve the recurring disagreements, set up a Joint Implementation Taskforce comprising members of GUTA and NUTAG, which agreed to meet on Tuesday, October 5,  after NUTAG had consulted the Nigerian Government for advice.

After the meeting, Mr Frank Agyekum, the Executive Secretary, Ghana International Trade Commission and Co-Chair of the Joint Implementation Taskforce, told the Ghana News Agency that NUTAG was not done consulting the Nigerian Government for its position on the issue.

“Unfortunately, at the meeting, the Nigerian traders said they had not completed their consultation with their Government, therefore, we have adjourned the meeting to another week,” he said.

“We expect that the Government of Nigeria reciprocate our goodwill and give us a response to settle this matter peacefully and to everyone’s satisfaction.”

Meanwhile, the Taskforce has charged GUTA to stay off any further actions until they had had response from Nigeria to know the next best form of action for mutual benefit.

Mr Sylvanus Dauda, the Minister in charge of Economic, Political and Counselor at the Nigerian High Commission, explained that the delay in getting response from the Nigerian Government was due to technical issues.

He reiterated the need for NUTAG to comply with the laws of Ghana to fit into the retail space in the country.

“We need some conviction to enlighten our traders and retailers on the need for them to comply because there are laws in the country that need to be complied with for them to participate in the retail space in the country,” he said.

Mr Dauda said the consultation would also ensure that they got documentations to afford NUTAG the chance to operate in the retail space and direct their paths as well.

Mr Joseph Obeng, the President, GUTA, said the Association was optimistic that NUTAG would comply with the laws governing their operations in the country just as they had promised at the meeting.

“We are waiting that they return to comply as they have promised to follow the roadmap and make sure that sanity prevails at the market places. Nations have laws and there is disorderliness when laws are not followed,” he said.

“Once we all want to ensure orderliness, the laws have to be respected and if concessions have been given, then it’s a great opportunity for our brothers to take….”