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Petty traders rejoice over GUTA strike



-       As they claim record sales

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Petty traders and hawkers at the central business district of Accra are rejoicing over what they claim are massive sales due to the shutdown of shops the striking members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA). 
According these petty traders and hawkers, even though they are not in support of GUTA’s actions, the shutdown of shops has offered them the opportunity to make more money from sales.
When reporters from the Daily Express visited some of the business centres in the capital yesterday, these traders who usually find it difficult getting places to sell their goods during normal business days, were seen briskly selling to customers who will hitherto buy from the shops.  Some had also positioned themselves in front of these closed shops wooing disgruntled customers.
“I wish business will remain same for some time, ’’ one petty trader around  Opera Square said smiling, noting that she had almost run out of stock of items she would have sold in more than a week or two.
“We are not saying the strike is good, but one man’s poison is another man’s meat’’, she continued, smiling.
 At other places such as the Makola and Okaishie markets, shop-owners who had defied the call by GUTA to shut down their shops also claimed a business boom as a result of less competition.
Despite fears that they may be attacked for defying the directive, the Greater Accra Police Command, led by Regional Police Commander, DCOP Christian Tettey Yehonu visited some of these market centres to ensure calmness.
DCOP Yehonu told the Daily Express that the purpose  of the visit was to ensure the safety of everyone especially  those who had  opened their stores.  He confirmed that no incidents were recorded and everything was normal.
The leaders  of GUTA , on Tuesday  ordered  members to close down their stores in protest of what they called  “unfair and unjust” treatments on the part of the government.

The leadership of GUTA among other things claimed  policies, such as a special levy of three per cent on imports and the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) by 2.5 per cent, are unfavourable and must be reversed.
Meanwhile, addressing a news conference in Accra,  Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, said  GUTA’s actions were premature as meetings were still on-going for some of the issues raised to be addressed.
On the influx of foreign retailers, he said  the   Ministry  had a meeting three weeks ago with GUTA members to work out modalities to flush out foreigners who are hindering the business of local traders.
“We planned to meet them again this month and I must confess that I was very surprised and more worried on their decision forcing their members to close down shops,” he said.
Mr. Lante Vanderpuye said GUTA’s main problem was the many foreigners claiming ownership of shops through marriage of convenience to Ghanaian women.
He pledged the Ministry’s openness for extensive discussions between GUTA members to facilitate and enhance progress, adding that “to achieve this progress there is the need for constant interactions as well as mitigations and not through back stabbing”.
He appealed to the executives of GUTA to amicably talk to their members for shops to be opened to promote productivity.

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