GUTA puts shop closure on hold

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has rescinded its decision to close shops for a one-month period following assurances by the Council of State to address the Association’s concerns.

The assurance was given at a crunch meeting attended by representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and GUTA executive members on Thursday.

GUTA this week announced the shop closure in protest of the economic hardship facing members.

As part of moves to address the concerns, a joint committee has been set up and tasked to find solution to the issues.

The concerns include high exchange rate; high inflation rate of 31.7 per cent, monetary policy rate of 22 per cent; commercial lending rate of over 35 per cent; Vat standard rate of 19.25 per cent instead of flat rate of 4 per cent and the huge influx of foreigners in the retail business against investment laws.

Others are attempts to increase duties on importation of second-hand clothing; attempt to ban importation of second-hand cars; imposition of compulsory maritime insurance policy; attempt by government to blame traders for high prices of goods on the market and unregulated activities of black market and its effect on the cedi.

Nana Otuo Siriboe II, Chairman of the Council of State in an interview after the meeting said the engagement was necessary to avert the remote and immediate causes of the intended industrial action and to find long lasting solutions to the challenges.

He said the committee would tackle the issues immediately and come up with recommendations within a month.

Dr Joseph Obeng, President of GUTA in an interview with GNA said the decision to put the industrial action on hold followed a plan of government to inject some funds into the system, which “will definitely have some impact on the exchange rate.”

“We trust in the leadership of the Council of State and the counsel that they are giving us…Most of them had travelled. They are on recess, but they had to reconvene because of us, so why won’t we listen?”

Source: Ghana News Agency