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GUTA Warns Gov’t Over Foreign Traders   
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Members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Greater Accra Chapter, have threatened not to file their Value Added Tax (VAT) returns and other taxes if the government does not fully implement the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Law (Act 815, 2013) to prevent foreigners from taking over the retail sector reserved for Ghanaians.

“The inability of government and our law enforcement agencies to enforce the GIPC Act stated by 31st October, 2017, will compel us as a union to seize filing our VAT returns and other taxes,” they said at a press conference yesterday in Accra.

“The same tax laws which mandate us to meet all our tax obligations should compel the state security agencies to enforce the GIPC Law,” Nana Poku, General Secretary for the Greater Accra Chapter of the Union, who addressed the media, stated.

Section 27 of the GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 815) reserves certain small-scale enterprises and business for only Ghanaians.

They include the sale of goods and provisions in markets, petty trading, hawking and sale of goods in stalls at any place.

It also includes the operation of taxi business with a fleet of cars less than 25, operation of a beauty salon or barbering shop, printing of recharge scratch cards for the telcos, production of exercise books and other basic stationery, retail of finished pharmaceutical products, the production, supply and retail of sachet water and all aspects of pool betting, except football pool.

The Union stated that these activities are being undertaken rigourously by foreigners in clear violation of the country’s laws.

They stressed that the activities by the foreigners have led to the high cost of rents for shops in the markets.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, these unlawful actions by these foreigners have led to high cost of shop rentals in our various markets, which is causing the indigenes to lose their shops to foreigners,” they stressed.

Section 40 (g) of the GIPC Act, 2013, (Act 815) makes the renting out of shops and stalls in markets to foreigners an offence.

“We, the traders of Greater Accra and beyond, would like to sound a word of caution to all landlords, landladies and fellow Ghanaians that aiding and abetting, fronting for foreign nationals is a crime in the law books of our motherland,” Mr. Poku said.

GUTA Greater Accra also accused the foreign nationals of engaging in other illegal activities such as money laundering, imitation of indigenous registered products, and the failure to pay taxes and VAT.

“Foreign nationals are operating in our retail sectors and are not paying VAT and all other related taxes to the GRA. In addition they are also into money laundering in our various markets moving around to convince some of our business men and women from going to the various banks to transfer money to their counterparts outside,” the Union stated.

The Union used the opportunity to plead with government to reduce the benchmark values on imports to complement the smooth running of the laudable paperless transactions system, which they described as “adwadifo adanfo” to wit the traders’ friend.

“As good citizens of Ghana, we are strongly pleading with government to revise strategies towards addressing the challenges facing the ongoing implementation of the paperless transactions system to drastically reduce the benchmark values on imports,” they argued.
Source: Daily Guide

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