Weeks after bloody clashes during the of Ayawaso Wougon bye-election, President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), has warned that any increase in political violence could spell doom for importers and traders in the country hence the need to deal with it once and for all.
Dr Joseph Obeng said, “ a heated political climate before, during or after the 2020 elections will spell doom for importers and traders alike whose businesses thrive on peace, a stable economy and democracy”.
GUTA has called for calm among political parties and also the disbandment of political vigilante groups.
He added, “Should these vigilante groups go on the rampage, they end up burning property including shops across regional capitals. What this means is shutting down of business and with a chunk of business being SMEs, we are looking at economic activity grinding to a halt.”
GUTA on cedi performance
Importers have attributed the significant shrink of capital to the Ghana cedi’s weakened performance against major trading currencies, especially the US dollar.
The Ghana cedi has depreciated against the US dollar by 9 per cent to GH¢5.30 in February 2018, the fastest rate of depreciation in months.
This has made doing business for importers no longer exciting, as the amount of money needed to buy the same quantity of goods a year ago cannot do so today, thereby putting pressure on their capital and reducing profit margins as they are unable to transfer all the effect to consumers.
Dr Obeng said the downward spiral could be linked to bouts of speculations against the cedi which continues to witness capital flights among investors.
GUTA on the repeal of “ineffective” retail laws
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is also calling for the repeal of laws on retail trade in the country – saying they have been ineffective over the past years.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865 Section 27 bars foreigners from engaging in retail business or trade. But cases of the infiltration of the retail space by foreigners have questioned the effectiveness of this law.
Ghana’s retail law spells out clear guidelines on foreigner’s engagement in the retail space. GUTA has implored the government to enforce the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865 section 27, which bars foreigners from engaging in retail business or trade. Dr Joseph Obeng says it is either the laws are respected or scrapped.
To this end, GUTA has demanded the implementation of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC’s) law on protecting local enterprises as the Centre works to review aspects of its laws. According to Dr Obeng, the development has been given little attention over the years, has affected local businesses adversely.
Per Section 27 of the GIPC Act 865, “A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen, shall not invest or participate in the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place,”
Other areas highlighted include; the operation of taxis or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of fewer than 25 vehicles, the operation of a beauty salon or a barbershop as well as the printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services.Read Full Story