He expressed the worries of the traders on the floor of Parliament when the MPs were debating the involvement of foreigners in Ghana's retail trade and its implications.

He said the high rate is throwing local traders out of business and compounding their economic woes and urged the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) to boycott the banks.

According to him, the high interest rates are to the disadvantage of local traders compared to their foreign counterparts.

Kennedy Agyapong
Kennedy Agyapong

In other economies where the informal sector played a leading role in achieving real economic transformation, taxes that were paid by the sector ranged from zero to five per cent, thus creating an environment for businesses to develop and contribute to the growth of the economy.

In the case of Ghana, however, he said the tax regime, rather than spurring businesses on, had become very punitive.

The maverick MP said: "The reality is that it is very easy for a Nigerian to knock a Ghanaian out of business completely because our interest rates are so high and in India, China, Nigeria, their interest rates are low.

"Even today that interest rates are down, it is between 22 and 30 per cent whereas our competitors are taking loans with interest rates as low as five per cent, two per cent. The banks are taking advantage of us, especially the traders. The situation they are in, they are forced to take any rate because they’re desperate.

He added: "I’ll think if Ghanaian traders are able to boycott loans, they will sit up. I don't take loans … If everybody will sit for about three months and we’re not taking loans, these banks will also sit up."