Business News of 2014-06-18

Foreigner’s now controlling economy - SSRIDA-GH

Members of Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana (SSRIDA-GH), has accused Ministry of Trade and industry of collapsing their businesses in order to promote foreign trade.

SSRIDA-GH says the ministry has deliberately instituted policies that encourage more foreign traders into the country, while gradually flushing out small scale businesses. A statement issued by Mr Yaw Korang, Coordinator of SSRIDA-GH, in Accra on Tuesday and copied to Ghana News Agency, claimed that the phenomenon has contributed to the depreciation of the cedi.

It said if national policies are favouring foreign traders then government cannot be exonerated from the current economic crises. The statement spoke against the banning of inland importation of rice by the Ministry, when local traders ran small scale businesses with minimum capital and therefore cannot afford to transport their goods by air or sea.

“We feel it is failure on the part of government for not doing its homework well to find out about our capital base and whether we are in a position to transport our goods by using plane or ship, before instituting a policy that sends us back home with empty hands and nothing in our pockets, while our bankers are chasing us,” it said.

It said although different platforms have been used to draw the ministry’s attention to the harm the ban has caused “authorities at the ministry have put a death ear to our cry”.

The statement said the monopoly given to foreign traders has led to the high cost of living which has affected the prices of food stuffs. “Now 45 kilos of local rice which use to be GH¢ 70 is now GH¢ 110, 25kilos of perfumed rice which used to be GH¢ 87 is now sold at GH¢ 115.”

The statement referred to a warning Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) sent to foreigners involved in retail trade to leave the market by end of this month, which attributed the continuous depreciation of the cedi to the large foreign influx in retail trade.

According to GUTA the infiltration of foreigners into the economy contradicts Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, adding that all attempts to get foreigners out of the retail trade through legislation have proven futile.

The statement said the country should not get to a point where foreigners take over the market while the appropriate authorities whose duty is to ensure that this does not happen look on.

SSRIDA-GH says it will not hesitate to support GUTA and any other group that demonstrates against the status quo.

The statement called on President John Dramani Mahama to monitor the country’s trade policies, which it said is making government unpopular among traders and also affecting the economy.