Full-scale trading activities resumed in Accra yesterday following the decision by striking business operators to suspend their action.
It followed a meeting between the leadership of the groups and the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Murtala Mohammed, last Tuesday to iron out the issues that led to the three-day strike action.
Although no definite agreement was reached at the meeting, the traders decided to suspend the strike.The traders staged a three-day strike over tax hikes; an action that virtually crippled trading activities in the national capital.
They have, however, threatened to continue with their protest against tax hikes through actions such as demonstrations if the government fails to respond positively to their concerns.
When the Daily Graphic visited some commercial areas, including Abossey Okai, Kantamanto and the Central Business District yesterday, trading activities had picked up. Shop owners had also opened their shops to the public.
The Deputy National Coordinator of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Mr Kofi Boateng, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, said the leadership of the business groups had instructed their members not to pay the 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on their goods.
“We have instructed our members to pay the three per cent VAT that we have always paid until the government slapped the 17.5 per cent on us without consultation,” he said.
He said although the leadership of the business operators had a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry to address the issues, it was not conclusive.
“Mr Mohammed told us that some of the levies had to be amended by Parliament before any review could be done. He promised to get back to us the following day but nothing has come up,” he said.
“We will stage nationwide demonstrations and adopt other lawful means to compel the government to respond positively to our plight,” he added.
At Abossey Okai, the Chairman of the Association of Used Auto Parts (AUAP), Mr Siaw Ampadu, said the members had decided to begin a series of actions from next Thursday. These would include the wearing of red armbands pending further directives from their leadership.
“One other thing we can possibly do is to ask all importers to stop importing until the government responds to us favourably,” he further said.
Meanwhile, a section of the public the Daily Graphic interacted with expressed their support for the action of the business operators.
Nineteen business groups including the GUTA, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ghana Automobile Dealers Association and the Ghana Beverages Association closed their shops to the public last Monday to protest higher taxes imposed by the government. The strike lasted for three days.