Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyepong, is advocating a campaign against banks to compel them to reduce their interest rates.
The banks, he said, are taking undue advantage of Ghanaian traders and making them less competitive against their competitors, especially traders from neighbouring Nigeria.
According to the MP, Ghanaian merchants are forced to take loans at any rate because they are desperate for capital to expand their businesses.
He argued if traders are able to stand firm and boycott taking loans for a month, the banks will sit up and provide services deserving of the Ghanaian trader.
Mr. Kennedy Agyapong made the call when he addressed a matter of grave concern involving foreigners in Ghana’s retail trade and its implication, which was brought to the floor of the House by Collins Owusu Amankwah, MP for Manhyia North.
He said, “I don’t take loans. Just this morning they were talking to me. I said I cannot take your 30% then I will be working for you. With electricity cost and loan, what am I going to get?”
“If everybody will sit for about a month without taking any loans, these banks will also sit up because the government’s hands are tied and cannot force them to reduce their interest rates.”
“Seriously, the banks also have to look at their interest rates because what they are charging is not going to help us.”
According to him, Ghanaian traders need lot of financial support to match their counterparts from Nigeria who have lots of leverage in terms of financial wherewithal.
He indicated that Ghanaian consumers consider their purchasing power before making a decision to buy and would more often buy from the Nigerian because their goods are relatively cheaper compared to that of the Ghanaian.
Ghanaians, he argued, cannot compete anywhere in the world with the kind of interest rates being charged by banks.
Nigerian traders, he said, have money and can therefore make huge purchases on the international market and enjoy discounts and therefore have capacity to sell at relatively cheaper prices compared to the Ghanaian.
“When you go to Germany and they are buying engines, they purchase in huge bulks. When the Nigerian is spending about US$500,000, the Ghanaian is spending US$50,000.”
“Even if I’m the one selling and the person is buying in such volumes, I will reduce it. Therefore they have a cheaper cost compared to the Ghanaian trader in the same trade.”
According to him, this is the crux of the matter and where debate on foreigners in the retail trade should be centered.
He warned Ghanaians against taking the law into their own hands to evict Nigerians from the retail market because it could have serious repercussions whereby Ghanaian traders would be subjected to the same dictates in other countries.