The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), says it will fiercely resist any attempt by the government to amend the GIPC law, which restricts foreigners from Ghana’s retail space.
This is not the first time the Union has called for the GIPC law to be enforced to the letter.
GUTA’s anger has been reignited after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, announced a review of the GIPC Act 2013, Act 865 that will exempt the capital requirement of $1 million needed for Nigerian retailers to operate in Ghana.
Speaking before the Nigerian House of Representatives, Mr. Bagbin said the review will end the long-standing trading impasse between Ghana and Nigeria.
But according to the President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, this proposal puts Ghanaians at a disadvantage on the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Practically, it is impossible to enjoy any advantage under the AfCFTA, if members engage in trading in goods that are not produced in the respective member countries. We find it difficult to understand any leader in the subregional bloc who cannot draw the line between what is permissible in the trading space under our respective sovereign laws and the provisions in the international protocols and treaties that we have signed or ratified as member states,” he said.
Dr. Obeng added that the union will not agree to the abolishment or review of the GIPC law, which protects their retail space.
“We, members of the Ghanaian trading community have never and will never prevent any African in our midst from trading freely in goods and services that are produced in member states, but will fiercely resist any abuse of the rules of origin by the member states. If there should be an amendment of our investment laws regarding foreign retail trade in this country for Ghanaians to endorse, then it should be that: for having signed or ratified the ECOWAS protocol and the AfCFTA, any citizen of the member state who trades in goods manufactured in their respective countries should be fully exempted,” he added.
GUTA said while it is not against any arrangement to enhance its business relationship with Nigeria, it believes that all of such arrangements must be in conformity with the broader national laws and not be done in isolation.
“It should not be said that the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana under the headship of Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin represented themselves without any regard for the concerns of the citizens and imposed retrogressive amendment of the GIPC law to please other countries rather than Ghanaians who are losing their means of livelihood and employment.”
“With regard to the Ghana-Nigeria friendship Act, which will lead to the establishment of the Ghana- Nigeria Business Council, we do not have any problem with any agreement that will enhance our business relationship with any country except that in the context of ECOWAS and our neighbours within the sub-regional bloc, we should not do it in isolation,” Dr. Obeng noted.