The traders said the action was taken to show their displeasure towards their unmet grievances, which they spelt out during a press conference held on Monday, June 24.
Mr Koranteng Asiamah, the Chaiman for GEDA, told the Ghana News Agency that their action was to clean the business area of foreign traders, who had encroached on the local business space, depriving local traders of their right to trade.
He added that the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Act 865 Sections 27 and 28, prohibit foreigners from engaging in the retail of merchandise within the local markets, which is reserved for citizens only.
“Have you seen a Chinese or an Indian woman selling pepper or ‘koobi’ at Makola before? Of course not! This is because this and other trades were reserved for local traders only in order to protect citizens economically,” he said.
Mr Asiamah said they are going to open the shops for the affected traders after their documents have been vetted and proven to be genuine and qualifies them as citizens.
“These are the only ways to prove that they had the right to do business within the Opera Square,” he added.
Mr Samuel Addo, Public Relations Officer for GEDA, said the foreigners who does not pay taxes, own more than 40 per cent of the shops at Opera Square, depriving government the needed revenue to run the country, adding that, all the goods imported by these foreigners are shoddy.
He said, but for one foreigner who proved difficult, the exercise was generally a peaceful one and that about 35 to 40 shops were closed.
He said they are currently in dialogue with the police and representatives of the foreign traders, however, they are still looking up to the government to fully implement the GIPC Act.
Mr Eric Abowu, a cable retailer, said their businesses are being affected mainly because the foreigners have taken to retail trade and sells their shoddy goods at lesser prices which attracts more customers at the expense of local traders.
He suggested that the way out is for foreign traders to engage in wholesale trade only, outside of the Opera Square area.