Members nineteen business groups on Monday closed their shops to the public in protest against high import duties and a hike in other taxes.
The move is in compliance with a directive given by a joint consultative assembly meeting by the groups last Thursday as part of measures to compel the government to review the current tax regime after the expiry of a two-week ultimatum.
The business groups, including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ghana Automobile Dealers Association, Food and Beverages Association, at a press conference last Wednesday, resolved to close down their shops for three days effective Monday.
A visit by Graphic Online to some areas of Accra, including Abossey Okai, Central Business District and Kantamanto, showed that most major shops were locked up.
The usual human traffic in the city was absent as a few shop owners sat by their locked shops
Some traders who had traveled to purchase items from those shops were left stranded and frustrated at the turn of events.
One of the traders, Mr Isaac Nlamborm, 35, who traveled from Dambai in the Volta Region to buy roofing sheets and other building materials, could not hide his frustration when he said “I went round and round to buy building materials but all shops are closed.
“I arrived in Accra this dawn with the hope to buy the materials and return. Now, I do not know when they will open the shops so that I can buy the materials and go back,” he said.
At the Abossey Okai area, most of the shop owners hanged red banners at the entrance of their shops while others could not be spotted around their closed shops.
The Deputy National Co-ordinator of GUTA, Mr Kofi Boateng, who spoke to Graphic Online said although the business operators would lose some money as a result of the closure of the shops, they were ready to soldier on until the government responded positively.
“We are not bothered about the losses that we will incur. Nelson Mandela once said that freedom is not won on a silver platter; so, if you want to achieve something, you have to tighten your belt,” he said.
The owner of Kwessapp Ventures, a dealer in radiations and air conditions at Aboussey Okai, Mr Kwesi Appiah, said apart from the high import duties, other taxes by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly had grounded business.
It would be recalled that the business operators held a press conference on February 2, 2016 to make public some the devastating effect high import duties and taxes had on their businesses, which had thrown some of their members out of business.
The government was given a two-week ultimatum to respond to the demand of the business operators. On the February 16, 2016, another meeting was convened by the trade bodies to declare a closure of their shops since the government had not responded to their plight.