The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) has called on the government to expedite action on the debate of high import duty and ensure broader stakeholder participation.
It said the issue of high import duty and other cost of doing business in the country had been of much concern to the trading community, especially importers.
The call was made in a statement signed by Mr Alpha A. Shaban, the General Secretary of GUTA and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Monday.
The statement said the Association appreciated and welcomed the debate within government circles, as mentioned in the speech of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, during his recent encounter with the press.
The statement said; “We find it necessary to state herein that, with the wise counsel of the President of the republic and also the Minister of Trade and Industry, we have decided to tone down on our demand for a strict and immediate enforcement of the GIPC Law 2013 (Act 865) section 27 (1). However, this is not to say that GUTA has given up the demand for the enforcement of the Act.”
It asked the state institutions responsible for the enforcement of the law to sit up and work diligently and expeditiously, as well as ensure that, all non-Ghanaians comply with the law or face the consequence.
It said this would forestall the recurrence of any agitation on the issue of foreigners in retail trade in the markets.
The statement touched on the sanitization of the banking industry, as announced by the Bank of Ghana, saying that, after the exercise, the GUTA expected the Bank of Ghana to closely monitor the activities of the banks in order to ensure that they follow the rules and regulations governing their operations.
“This will help restore confidence in the people, majority of whom have lost trust in the banks,” it said.
The statement said; “the mere recapitalization of the banks cannot ensure efficiency in their operations, unless there is an effective mechanism in place, coupled with the necessary compelling measures to ensure that they work effectively and efficiently.
“We are of the hope and belief that if the banks operate efficiently, it will impact positively on interest rates by bringing it down considerably for the benefit of the business community and the nation at large.”
The statement lauded the clean-up exercise introduced by the Accra Metropolitan Authority, but called for an aspect that should be looked into and addressed in order not to let it defeat the purpose for which it was intended.
It said while all shops were closed during the exercise, “you find petty traders and hawkers going about doing business in the vicinity, which in effect can defeat the purpose of this, all important sanitation programme.
The statement urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to look into the concerns and address it by involving everybody within the vicinity in the exercise while advising a periodic fumigation exercise to help curb the spread of diseases.
It said: “We cannot help, but to also state that the 2019 budget statement as presented by the Minister of Finance is quite ambitious and holds a lot of bright prospects for business. We the business community are adequately prepared for any opportunity that may avail to us in the budget.”
The statement said as a result, the GUTA would engage with the Procurement Ministry, to discuss ways and means of modifying the procurement processes and procedures to enable small and medium scale enterprises to also effectively participate in the government procurement programme.
“These are among many other issues that we will pursue and work on this year,” it said.
The statement said: “We expect change for the better and this change is highly possible if all relevant stakeholders (state and non-state actors) effectively work together in close collaboration on matters affecting the national economy, and find the way forward as a people and a nation.”