The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) Tuesday began a four-day closure of their shops to demonstrate against government policies that have allowed foreign nationals to take over the trading of most commodities in the country, President of GUTA, Mr George Kweku Ofori has announced.
GUTA is also using the closure of their shops to protest against a special three per cent levy imposed on imports as well as a 2.5 per cent increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) together with the continued depreciation of the local currency, the Cedi, which they said had affected their businesses.
“The unfair and unjust government policies, coupled with the inability of state institutions to effectively monitor and enforce compliance with the law governing doing business in the country, are terribly affecting our businesses in these country,” Mr Ofori said.
The association said, an Inter Agency Taskforce set up by the ministry of trade and industry to monitor and enforce the compliance with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre has not been effective.
Consequently, it said foreigners have been able to circumvent the law whilst the authorities looked on whilst the laws are broken with impunity.
He said, “in the case of the VAT, we have on several occasions complained about the disparities in the collection system-the standard rate, the flat rate and those who do not charge at all in the informal sector,” adding that, “we insist on uniformity for the flat rate only to make compliance easier, bring about parity and ensure fairness.”
Mr Ofori said, the depreciation of the Cedi had also affected members of the association because since January to June this year, the real value of members working capital had been reduced at a fast rate which is leading most of them to bankruptcy.
He said, the members of GUTA see the depreciation of the currency as deliberate move by the government to opt for devaluation as form of indirect tax to beef up government revenue.
The association blamed the government for the numerous economic crises that had engulfed the country as well as turning the country into a dumping ground for shoddy foreign goods which has affected the growth of local industries.