The President of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji has expressed confidence that Nigerians will be allowed to continue their trade in Ghana even after the impasse between traders of the two countries leading to the closure of some Nigerian shops in Accra and Kumasi.
Last year, local traders forced many foreign-owned retail shops especially shops owned by Nigerians to shut down on the basis that their presence was illegal.
After this misunderstanding was resolved, business went on as usual with Ghanaian and Nigerian traders living together in harmony. But the dying embers of this fire has once again been lighted and has seen Ghanaian traders forcefully locking up the shops of Nigerian traders insisting they have taken over the retail trade.
However, Chukwuemeka Nnaji in an interview with Samuel Eshun, disclosed that NUTAG was in talks with the right authorities in resolving the issue between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders.
“We have a meeting this week and we will resolve the issue. I am pleading with the authorities to respect the association. I have been speaking to my people and I have told them to cooperate with the authorities. Our space will be given to us and nobody will infringe on the laws of Ghana”, he stated.
Giving an update on the situation so far, he said: “About one hundred and fifty-eight (158) shops have been closed at tiptoe lane. So many people left after the shops were closed initially because they never wanted to go through the same experience they did a while back and this is sad. Less than one hundred (100) Nigerian shops in Abossey Okai have also been closed”.
In December 2019, the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) locked up over six hundred shops belonging to Nigerian retailers at Circle. Shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Kumasi were also shut down that year after Ghanaian traders alleged that Nigerian traders had taken over the retail business in the country.
This move caused a clash between Ghanaian traders and Nigerian traders leading some persons involved to be arrested while others were badly injured.
Meanwhile, the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association is calling on the government to implement the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865), to prevent foreigners in the country from engaging in retail trade.
The group wants the Presidential Committee on Retail Trade set up by the government to vet the operating documents of foreigners in the retail business to do its job properly.
The Co-Chairman of the Association, Nana Kwabena Peprah told journalists: “We know how even the law allows a foreigner to apply in retail trade. They go through a process of registering at the GIPC for a certificate and where they can ply their trade. No trader in Ghana speaks against Melcom, Max Mart, and other retail outlets. It is simply because they are going through the rules that govern trading in Ghana. All that we are saying is that the GIPC law is implemented because the current situation is affecting us”.
What Ghana’s laws say:
Section 28 of the GIPC law says:
(1) A person who is not a citizen may participate in an enterprise specified in Section 27 if that person (a) in the case of a joint enterprise with a partner who is a citizen, invests a foreign capital of not less than $200,000 in cash or capital goods relevant to the investment or a combination of both by way of equity participation, and the partner, who is a citizen, does not have less than 10 per cent equity participation in the joint enterprise; or (b) where the enterprise is wholly owned by that person, invests a foreign capital of not less than $500,000 in cash or capital goods relevant to the investment or a combination of both by way of equity capital in the enterprise.
(2) A person who is not a citizen may engage in a trading enterprise if that person invests in the enterprise, not less than $1million in cash or goods and services relevant to the investments.