Personnel from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service have arrested some executives of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and Electrical Dealers Association.
The arrest is said to be in connection with their threat to take action against foreigners in the retail business, if the government failed to implement the law barring non-nationals from operating in that space.
Confirming the arrest, GUTA president, Dr Joseph Obeng said the police is wrong to arrest citizens who are demanding that a law must be made to work.
“This is an unfair treatment…it cannot be that we despise our own citizens and then love others when the law is even on our side,” he said.
Retail traders in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi and even in Accra, have accused foreigners, especially Nigerians, of engaging in retail trade, contrary to Section 27 of GIPC Act 865.
The law prohibits non-Ghanaians from engaging in retail trade in the jurisdiction.
Governments has, however, found it difficult to implement the law, causing the traders to go rogue on a seasonal basis.
Many, including foreign nationals, have argued the law is contrary to the ECOWAS provision on the free movement of goods and persons across the sub-region.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association backed the action by the Kumasi traders. At a press conference last week, GUTA called on government to enforce the GIPC Act.
According to Dr Obeng, sector associations have been giving solidarity messages since they are also feeling the effect of foreigners operating in their trading space.
“Yesterday, the electrical dealers organised a press conference and warned that those who are in our midst and working illegally should not open their shops,” he told Joy Business.
Leaders of the Abossey Okai Spare Part Dealers at a press conference
The GUTA president said they were emphatic that they will arrest anyone trading illegally adding, they will help enforce the laws of the land.
Over the weekend, a lawyer and lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) faulted the law barring foreign nationals from engaging in the retail market in the country.
Justice Srem Sai said Section 27 of the Ghana PIC Act 865 is among a certain group of laws that just cannot be enforced.
He told host Evans Mensah on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme, Newsfile show that once Ghana has signed on to be part of some international organisations like the ECOWAS, it must respect the aims of such organisations.
He said, “government is not enforcing the law because they cannot enforce it.”