The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) says it has closed all avenues of dialogue with its Nigerian counterparts over the ongoing impasse on retail trade in the country.
In a statement to respond to issues raised by the Nigeria Union of Traders Association (NUTAG), at its press conference held on Wednesday, GUTA expressed dismay at the posturing of NUTAG in its quest to find an amicable solution to the standoff.
The GUTA said: “It is very sad and unfortunate for NUTAG to describe GUTA members as thugs in their press conference. Members of GUTA are not only civilised, but also much enlightened, right thinking and well meaning individuals who will not stoop so low and resort to the use of foul language.
“However, let it be mentioned that the behaviour and conduct of NUTAG in effect has closed all possible avenues of dialogue with GUTA on this matter.”
The statement reiterated its call on Government of Ghana and Nigeria to enforce local laws on trade to ensure peace and security in both countries as efforts to resolve the problem had proven futile.
It said: “Ghana as a sovereign state has her investment law, which is not being enforced over the past 20 years and all that GUTA has been calling for is the enforcement of the law to the latter, which of course is our inalienable right as citizens of Ghana.
“It is important to know that this law is not in contradiction with any international treaty or protocol, more especially, the ECOWAS protocol which some Nigerian traders led by NUTAG contested at the ECOWAS Community court of justice and lost.”
The Association blamed Ghanaian authorities for failing to enforce the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) Act over the years.
It would be recalled that President of NUTAG, Mr Emeka Nnaji, addressing journalist in Accra on Tuesday, described the forceful locking of shops of foreign retailers as a sign of intolerance and wickedness.
“GUTA has not allowed us to have peace of mind in this country for some time now and it is very sad because they keep insisting we leave the markets. We do not want a situation where Nigerians will also start attacking Ghanaians doing business in Nigeria in retaliation, just as it happened in South Africa recently.
“We are all brothers and so we are here for peace, let us work in harmony as true Africans,” he said.
Mr Nnaji chided GUTA for “using all manner of propaganda to ensure we are sacked from this country. We are being accused of selling sub-standard goods, not paying duties and smuggling, among other accusations.
“Any time a Nigerian commits a crime in Ghana, GUTA will use it as an excuse to put us out of business,” he lamented, warning that “NUTAG would not take it lightly should anything happen to its members, saying, “The leadership of GUTA would be held responsible.”
BY TIMES REPORTER