Traders oppose building of store close to Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border
Members of the Traders Association at Elubo, a border town, have appealed to the government to restrain a Lebanese company from opening a store within the security zone at the border as it would deprive them of their economic activities and also pose security risk.
They said their investigations showed that National Security granted permit to the DIPLO FZ LIMITED to build the store and warehouse within the premises of Customs Excise and Preventive Service collection point behind the security fence wall.
The traders expressed regret that National Security failed to consider their economic interest but rather gave preference to a foreigner to take over their trade business which is the only source of livelihood for the indigenes of the area.
They also blamed Awulae Annor Adjaye 111, the Paramount Chief of Western Nzema Traditional Area, for leading the chiefs in the area to support the Lebanese to establish such a venture.
Addressing a press conference at Elubo on Thursday Mr Evans Ampoma Dacosta, the Secretary of the association, said information gathered showed that the multi purpose store would be opened in December.
Mr Dacosta said the claim by the Lebanese company that it would deal in only wholesale business was not true because for the four years that it had operated in Elubo it had retailed all kinds of goods including tomato puree, black thread, matches, mobile phones among others.
He said it was not true that it would transact wholesale business as the Lebanese company had adopted similar strategy to retail all kinds of goods in Kumasi and in Cote d’Ivoire to cripple business of the local people.
Mr Dacosta said Ivorians who mostly patronize their wares would buy from the Lebanese shop and would not enter Elubo to buy their goods thereby keeping them out of business.
Giving a background to the situation, he said in 1998 during the administration of the National Democratic Congress, a company built a similar store outside the security fence wall and this project was stopped by the security agencies.
Unfortunately however, under the administration of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the DIPLO FZ Company started building its store complex at the same spot within the security zone just close to the first project which was stopped.
Mr Dacosta said the then National Security under Mr Francis Poku was informed and the DIPLO FZ store was stopped in 2007.
They expressed surprise the interest the security agencies had in the business and allowed the Lebanese to resurface to complete the project just close to the first one.
“This development questions the real motive of our security agencies, therefore we humbly and sincerely appeal to the government of President John Atta Mills to consider our plight and restrain the company from its operation”.
Awulae Annor Adjaye later told the GNA on telephone that they as traditional rulers could not oppose any instructions or stance taken by National Security therefore they were compelled to give their blessing adding “we cannot sabotage government move”.