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Again, Nigerian traders face ejection from Ghana markets!




There  is  uneasy  calm  among   Nigeria  retail  traders in Ghana  as a   result  of   renewed  Ghana Union  of  Traders  Association’s  (GUTA) demand  on   government  to  flush  out  the  growing number of  Nigeria   traders in  the   retail  business.

When a similar move was made two years ago, it came in the form of a policy that required all foreignrs doing business in Ghana to show evidence of having N300,000 dollars in investment funds in the nation. Sustained diplomatic negotiations succeeded in bringing a temporary halt to the policy.                                    

Now, a new assault has been made with GUTA declaring war on the Nigeria Union of Trader’s  Association  in  Ghana( NUTAG)  as it has  directed   its member  in  Accra  and  Kumasi to close their  shops  in  protest  of  unstable macroeconomic  conditions and  the   increasing   number of  Nigerians  and  other foreigners  like  Chinese, Indians and Lebanese  in  the retail  business.

The  situation  has  created tension  among   some  Nigerian  Trader’s in the  retail  sector  who  are  unsure  of  the  results  of  the  protest. 

Comrade   Barry  Ndu Nwaihim, the   Public  Relations Officer of the  All  Nigeria  Community in  Ghana  (ANC) , stated  that  the   development  has  caused   an   unstable  atmosphere  among  Nigerian  traders  who   are  unsure  of  what  outcome  the   protest  will  have  on  their  retail  businesses.

As  the   protest    intensifies , he  said, Nigerian  in  the    retail  industry  are    worried   over  when  the  government  task   force  will  hit  the  market   to  close  their  shops.

 All  efforts,  according    to him,  to meet  GUTA  to  discuss   the  issue  have  proved   futile, as  the   executives   of the  Association  have refused  to  grant  them    audience   to  resolve  the  situation.

He noted that the situation has  affected  the  stability  of  Nigeria   retail    business  in the   country    as  they  daily have become  increasingly  anxious   about    the  protest’s   outcome . 

In his comments on the subject, the Principal Community   Officer of the Ghana Ministry of   Trade   and Industry, Dr  John    Hawking    Asiedu   who spoke  to The  Difference in   an   interview   in  Accra, blamed  the   GUTA   leaders  for  the  increasing   number  of  Nigerians  and    other  foreigners  in  the  retail  business.

 He  revealed   that  the  same    leaders  of  GUTA  front  for  Nigerians  and   foreigners ,  especially   the   Chinese,   to  get  shops in strategic markets.

“The  Ministry’s  preliminary   investigations  conducted   with  other  state  Agencies   such  as  the   Ghana  Revenue  Authority (GRA)  and  the  Ghana  Investment   Promotion    Center   ( GIPC)  show    that    some   leaders  of  the  various     trade  groups under  GUTA  aid   foreigners  to  get  shops,  then  turn  round   to  blame   government  for  allowing  foreigners into the market –   even  our  own  brothers, the Nigerian –  that  they   flood    the  retail    business   when  indeed  their   members   front    for the    foreigners,” he said.

He , however,   cautioned   that  government   and    the   ministry    will  approach    the  two  associations   to   bring    the  situation  under control    to  prevent   any  retaliation    from  other  countries    since    there  are  equally    a  great   number  of    Ghanaians    doing  retail  business   in   Nigeria  and   other  countries.

He  opined  that  the ECOWAS   treaty   allows  other    West   African  country  citizens  to  engage  in  legal   trade  once  they  satisfy  the  host    country’s   requirements. 

He  called for  reason  to  prevail    and    not  to   antagonize  citizen    of  other  West  African   countries ,   as the    ECOWAS    Protocol   covered   all  the  members   state .

He   cautioned the GUTA leadership  that  they   should   not  take  the law  into their  hand, but  to allow  the  government  and  ECOWAS   to look  into   the  situation in order   to  let  peace reign.

On his part, the  Minister of  Trade  and  Industry, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu,  said  all  foreigners doing retail business in the  market place should be relocated, adding that  the  laws of Ghana only allowed Ghanaians  to  do the  retailing / petty trading in the  market place.

 Iddrisu explained that foreigners are to invest in the country based on their capacity and not to be struggling with locals for control of the retail business in the markets.

“They have to abide with our   local laws in the country. We have set up a 30-man task force to sack all foreigners doing retail business in the market,” the Minister added.

The  President   of   the Nigerian  Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG), Mr. John Igwe Okala,  said the Ghana government should  be  liberal in the application of the ECOWAS Treaty for the  free movement of people, goods and services and also to have  a relief on  Nigerian  traders in retail  business as brothers within the   Sub-Region .

The  President of  GUTA, Mr. Ofori  is still  pressing the  Ghana government not to sleep on  the  trade matter that foreigners  doing retail business should sack in their market place, stressing  that the  law says “all  foreigners are not allowed to do retail  business rather for wholesales business and  also meet all  the requirements from the Ghana investment promotion  center,  without that they will  not be  allowed  in  the  market place And  we have  equally set up 30 men task force   from the Ministry of  Trade and Industry, the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Union of Traders Association to sack all foreigners doing retail business in the Country.” 

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has said that the problems confronting Nigerian businessmen in Ghana was receiving adequate attention.

He said the sub-regional parliament will continue to deploy the instrument of parliamentary diplomacy to address the challenges faced by the Nigerian business community in the country.

Ekweremadu gave the assurance in Abuja when he received the new justices of the ECOWAS Court of Justice led by its President, Hon. Justice Maria Do Ceu Monteiro Silva.

The team, according to the Special Adviser to the Speaker, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, was on a familiarisation tour to the parliament in Abuja.

Ekweremadu explained that past interventions by the Community Parliament were helpful in resolving issues relating to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act.

He expressed the hope that such matters would not get to the level of judicial pronouncements.

He said, “As a Parliament, we have had cause to intervene at certain times on this matter and I am happy to stress that the government of Ghana has always responded positively to these interventions and the matters were resolved.

“We do not want a situation where certain things that have to do with freedom of movement and freedom of establishment of citizens of member States will now go to the Community Court of Justice with two member States contending.

“That will not be good for our relationship.”

He, however, stressed that the parliament would continue to collaborate with the Community Court of Justice to deepen democracy in the sub-region.

He also pledged that the body would continue to promote compliance by member States with the verdicts of the Court as a platform for the peoples of the sub-region who feel unjustly treated to seek redress.

President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Maria Do Ceu Monteiro Silva, emphasised the need for the parliament and the Community Court of Justice to continue to work together to promote the interest of the ECOWAS citizens.

She pledged the support of the Court to the quest for the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, noting that it was vital for the integration process and development of the sub-region



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