Exchange rate, interest rate killing our business-Used Clothing Association

The Ghana Used Clothing Dealers Association has said the unstable exchange rate is having financial pressure on their business.

They have therefore appealed to the government to take a further look at the situation so they can sustain their business.

Patron of the Association Mr. Oscar Ankomah said they expect the ruling government to adopt measures that could stabilise the exchange rate for a period six months before a new price is announced.

He argued that one of the major indicators of a strong economy is the performance of a currency in the exchange rate market.

He said the rate applied is unstable and due to that, we spend a lot on importing our goods. When that happens our customers blame us for increasing the prices of our goods. We cannot be blamed because the rate is unstable.”

He stressed on the need for the government to maintain a stable rate for ”six months or a year instead of the weekly review. ”

He explained the decision to scrap some taxes was a great idea but the unstable exchange rate has constantly destroyed the gains made.

”We are gradually losing the gains made. Some have argued why we have not felt the scrapping of the taxes. It is not our fault. The unstable exchange rate is killing our business. We want to appeal to the government to maintain the rate at certain standard for six months or a year.”

Foreigners taking over businesses

Taking his turn, Mr. Effah Nyarko, , who is also a patron decried the influx of Chinese in the retail business.

He said foreign retailers flout section 27 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865.

That law specifies that the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place must be reserved for Ghanaians.

Other activities not permitted for non-citizens include:

-Operation of taxi or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of less than twenty-five vehicles

-Operation of a beauty salon or a barbershop

-Printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services

-Production of exercise books and other basic stationery

-Retail of finished pharmaceutical products

-Production and retail of sachet water.

But Mr. Nyarko says the foreigners are depriving them of their right to trade.

According to him, the association would not want to replicate the action by the Ghana Union of Traders 9GUTA) where the shops of foreigners have been locked, thus the government should enforce the laws with immediate effect.

”We will not allow foreigners to take over our trade. We will resist any attempt by the Chinese to take over the used clothing business.”

He admonished Ghanaians fronting for the Chinese to desist from doing so since the association will not hesitate to punish them.

”The foreigners transfer their profits back to their countries whereas we Ghanaians trade and develop the country, so we have to do our best to prevent them from trading in our market.”

Interest Rates

Financial Secretary for the Association, Mr. Emmanuel Ofori said the high-interest rates were also killing their business.

He said that businesses of their members are being affected, causing young entrepreneurs to end up losing their profits to banks and financial institutions with their high-interest rates and other charges living room for foreign investors to take over the market.

He also appealed to the central bank to increase its threshold of $50,000 to $200,000 so they can import more for the government to generate more revenue.

The capping he lamented has increased activities of the black market in the forex trade, a situation he warned could spell doom for the business sector.

Public Relations Officer for the Association John Obiri Yeboah commended government for not introducing new taxes.

He, however, asked the government to manage the banking crisis well, so traders who have their locked up capital retrieved.

He called on the government to set a special committee to deal with concerns of traders who have their capital locked up with the collapsed banks.

By: Rashid Obodai Provencal

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