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The Inter-agency Task Force established to rid Ghana’s market places of non-Ghanaians will resume its activities today.

The task force, set up by the Trade Ministry to monitor the activities of non-Ghanaians engaged in retail and petty trading, suspended its activities to give foreign traders the opportunity to vacate the open markets which are reserved for Ghanaians.

The task force would go to the market places where some non-Ghanaian operators have been identified and subsequently close their shops.

It would be recalled that about a fortnight ago members of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) embarked on a demonstration and criticized the task force for the delay in ejecting foreigner traders.

Data gathered by the task force as part of the exercise indicated that there are 1,070 shops operated by non-Ghanaians across the country.

A letter signed K. Ntim Atuahene, Director of Domestic Trade and Distribution at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, announced that the task force would resume operations for the next two days.

The operation would commence today at 9:30am and then continue on Wednesday, November 21, 2012.

“The inter-agency taskforce set up to enforce the Ghana Investment Promotion Council’s law on Non-Ghanaians engaged in trading activities in the market place will embark on market operations,” the statement said.

It would be recalled that the evacuation of non-Ghanaian retail traders from market places was halted because of a letter from the ECOWAS Parliament regarding the exercise.

Subsequently, a four-month grace period which ended on October 16 was permitted to allow the affected traders enough time to relocate.

Despite the initial decision to suspend the exercise, the Ministry intends to proceed as earlier planned as it is within its mandate to enforce the laws of the country.

There were earlier reports that Nigeria had petitioned ECOWAS on the move and threatened to break ties with Ghana if it enforced the laws. Some ECOWAS member states claimed they had been exempted from the exercise.

However K. Ntim Atuahene, in an interview with the Business Guide dismissed the assertions, saying “the exercise do not in any way reflect the growing xenophobia within the Ghanaian economy.”

Welcoming foreigners, he emphasized that “we very much cherish their investments; however these non-Ghanaian traders must make efforts to comply with the laws of the land.”

To ensure the success of the exercise, he called on all stakeholders to comply with the regulations on trading activities “for smooth movement and success of the work of the task force.”

Source: Emelia Ennin Abbey

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