President of the Nigerian Traders Association of Ghana, (NUTAG), Chwukuemeka Nnaji has said the retail trade laws in their country does not bar Ghanaians from operating though Ghana law prevents them from engaging in retail businesses.
In an interview with GhanaWeb's Ernestina Serwaa Asante, he stated that people from West Africa are not tagged as foreigners in Nigeria and due to this, there has been a free flow of trade in Nigeria.
According to him, “We have what we call the Nigeria Investment Promotion Centre (NIPC). Our law does not focus or target any particular country or people…we don’t call West Africans foreigners in Nigeria, that is why Ghanaians are actually in every part of Nigeria.”
Labelling the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) law as discriminatory, Mr Nnaji added that the laws are embarked on by people with selfish gains.
Speaking on the GIPC law with GhanaWeb, he made known that “Such laws are discriminatory and such law shouldn’t be made for a citizen and such law is actually strict... on West Africans or Africans that Dr Kwame Nkrumah fought for. This is not a Ghana of Kwame Nkrumah; this is a Ghana of selfish individuals.”
About the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) law Act 2013 (Act 865).
This legal framework is to encourage and promote investments in Ghana by providing an enabling environment for investors. But some businesses, per the law, are not to be owned by foreigners, neither are they to be seen engaged in it. Amongst such businesses include, the sale of goods in a market, selling of goods in a stall at any place, operating a beauty salon or a barbering shop, engaging in the retail of finished pharmaceutical products among others.
However, foreigners may be given the go ahead to operate in a trading enterprise only if they invest not less than US$ 1,000,000 in cash or via goods and services relevant to the investments.
Also, they are required to employ at least 20 skilled Ghanaians at their workplace based on Section 28 (4) of Act 865.
Foreigners who engage in retail trade without meeting the minimum capital requirements mentioned above commits an offence which is against the GIPC law.
Ghanaians or non-Ghanaians who also let out a stall in a market to a foreigner also commit a breach of Act 865 and is equally punishable by law.