The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), has expressed shock about the four-day closure of shops declared by Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
The strike, which started on Tuesday and expected to end on Friday, is a protest against what GUTA members described as “unfair and unjust” government’s trade policies.
Addressing a news conference, Mr Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Out-going Deputy Minister of MOTI, said the Ministry held a meeting three weeks ago with GUTA members to work out modalities to flush out foreigners who are hindering the business of local traders.
“We planned to meet them again this month and I must confess that I was very surprised and more worried on their decision forcing their members to close shops,” he said.
Mr Lante Vanderpuye said GUTA’s main problem was the many foreigners claiming ownership of shops through marriage of convenience to Ghanaian women.
He said about 87 per cent of such shop ownerships were based on falsification of document and it was the wish of government to bring an end to such an act for smooth and better business co-existence.
He pledged the Ministry’s openness for extensive discussions between GUTA members to facilitate and enhance progress, adding that “to achieve this progress there is the need for constant interactions as well as mitigations and not through back stabbing”.
Mr Lante Vanderpuye, however, disclosed that measures are underway to streamline and flush out the infiltrators “As we don’t want any hanky-panky procedures as used in the past,” he said.
He noted that an educational campaign was also underway for people to use legitimate means to address their grievances.
He appealed to the executives of GUTA to amicably talk to their members for shops to be opened to promote productivity.
“If after all these nothing is achieved then they are justified to take their action,” he added.
GUTA announced on Monday that they would close their shops in Kumasi and Accra for four days in protest against what it called “unfavourable government policies”.
The union had complained that the special levy of three per cent on imports, 2.5 per cent rise in the Value Added Tax, persistent fall of the cedi and illegal charges at the ports, slowed down businesses.
President of GUTA, Mr George Kweku Ofori also accused state institutions of failing to monitor trade policies and enforcing compliance.
In response, the police said in a statement that they would deploy personnel in the cities to protect traders intending to open their shops.
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