The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says it will resist any attempt to link the worsening economic situation to trading activities of its members.
The Association said it had noted with concern how political communicators, including some senior government officials were blaming traders for escalating commodity prices on the market and said such acts must stop.
“They do this by calling traders all manner of names such as ‘kalabule’, profiteers, economic saboteurs, hoarders, recalcitrant and mischievous elements, and thieves who do not care about the welfare of the Ghanaian people but themselves.
“Much as we are traders, we are also consumers of other products and so we cannot surcharge ourselves with unnecessary cost when it is not legitimate,” Dr Joseph Obeng, President of GUTA, said at a press briefing on Monday to announce the closure of shops.
He attributed the rising prices of commodities to the fast depreciation of the cedi, which he said had eroded their capital and increased their cost of doing business.
“As we speak now, one’s working capital of GH¢640,000 which could buy USD 100,000 at the beginning of this year can now buy USD 64000. Again, this borrowed capital of GH¢640,000.00 is now attracting interest payment of about 35 per cent representing GH¢224,000 per annum,” he said.
Dr Obeng said it was time government brainstormed with stakeholders within the economic sector to fashion out short to medium term solutions to the ailing economy.
He also advised against any attempt by government to increase duties at the port with the hope of raising more revenue as that would compound the precarious economic situation where inflation was as high as 31.7 per cent.
Mr Eddy Akrong, President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, said the plight of traders was tied to the operations of freight forwarders and so declared the support of GIFF to any decision that would inure to the growth of trading.
He also urged government to address the concerns of the traders adding that, “when the last trader dies, the last freight forwarder will die. Without their business, we don’t have a business.”
GUTA is the umbrella body of trade associations across 67 sectors of the economy and estimated to have over 2.5 million members nationwide.
The Association has threatened to close shops on Monday in protest of the economic conditions in the country.