President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says former President Jerry Rawlings enacted the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Act, “without the prompting of the trading community.”
Dr Joseph Obeng said traders during the advent of the Fourth Republic, “had no clue about the potential invasion of the retail space by foreigners.”
He said Mr Rawlings “was visionary enough to see this challenge we are facing today”.
The GIPC Act, which restricts Ghana’s retail space to only indigenes, has gone through various reviews and modifications leading to the GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 863) that encourages investments in Ghana.
Section 27(1) of the Act 865 spells out restrictions on foreign investors on some areas of investment and participation.
These include the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or the selling of goods in a stall at any place.
This Act has generated a protracted impasse among Ghanaian and Nigerian traders for the past 25 years.
Recent developments have seen the shutdown of stalls belonging to Nigerian and other foreign retailers under lock and key.
Ghana’s strict enforcement of its retail law has seen the Nigerian government threaten reprisal attacks.
This led both countries to consider a “Friendly Trade Pact” to fashion out the middle ground for the protracted impasse.