The Nigerian Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG) says its members who have their shops locked up by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) uptill now have been rendered poor with some resorting to begging to survive.
The Secretary-General of NUTAG, Comrade Evaristus Nwankwo disclosed to Citi News that owners of some of the locked-up shops have been subjected to severe economic hardship over the situation as some have even been forced to return to Nigeria.
Over 600 shops belonging to foreigners particularly Nigerians were closed down by GUTA in various exercises in 2019 for engaging in retail business which is exclusively reserved for Ghanaian traders.
The Nigerian traders have insisted that they are permitted to trade in the country by ECOWAS protocols and have made several appeals including one to President Nana Akufo-Addo to intervene and help get their shops reopened but that has not been done.
Comrade Nwankwo said the Association is still appealing to the government to intervene and have their shops reopened.
“There are serious challenges and that is why we are pleading [with the government]. Most of our members have resorted to begging from some of us whose shops are still open. They come to ask for GH¢100, GH¢50.”
“In one of our meetings, we had to do a freewill donation to accommodate those who are at Circle. Some have children who are sick and need medication all the time. I know about five of them who have gone back to Nigeria. Is this good news for the Ghana government? I don’t think so. It is giving a negative image to this country,” he said.
NUTAG – GUTA impasse
NUTAG and GUTA have been having running battles over the local retail space as the Ghanaian traders push for the enforcement of Ghana’s laws that prohibit foreigners from engaging in retail trade.
Hundreds of shops owned by Nigerians have been locked up in a move by GUTA to clamp down on foreigners engaged in retail businesses against Ghanaian laws.
Local retailers in parts of Accra and Kumasi have in recent times locked up the foreign-owned shops, preventing foreigners from going about their business.
NUTAG appeals to Akufo-Addo to ‘call GUTA to order’
The leadership of NUTAG has also asked its members at the Tip-Toe Lane to remain calm as discussions continue to have their shops reopened.
All efforts according to them are being made to engage their Ghanaian counterparts to find a lasting solution to the current impasse.
It appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo to immediately intervene in its ongoing brawl with the GUTA.
NUTAG said it has endured enough of what it describes as the consistent harassment of its members since 2007.
According to the Association, President Akufo-Addo must intervene for a re-look at the laws GUTA takes advantage of to harass them.