Some Ghanaians who work under Nigerians whose shops have been shut by the presidential taskforce on retail trade in the Ashanti region have threatened to demonstrate against the government for closing down the shops of their employers. Numbering over 200, the Ghanaians say their employers had genuine documents to operate and do not understand why the shops were closed down together with those who did not have genuine documents. The closure of the shops, they said, had rendered them jobless and made it difficult for them to feed themselves and their dependents.
The closure of the Nigerianowned shops, the aggrieved Ghanaians said, also came at a time the deadly coronavirus had crippled Ghanaian-owned businesses, hence making it difficult for their fellow countrymen to employ them. Addressing a press conference, they pleaded with the government to consider reopening shops belonging to Nigerians, who have genuine documents to operate or they demonstrate and vote against government.
It would be recalled that a few weeks ago, the Ashanti regional branch of the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) took a contrary position when it called on the government not to review the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre law against retail trade to favour foreign traders as requested by the Nigerian government. The Ghanaian traders said the government would incur their wrath if it attempts to amend the GIPC law in favour of foreign traders.
To calm the situation, which has degenerated into a cold trade war between both countries, a delegation from Nigeria, led by the Speaker of the House of Representative, Femi Gbajabianmila, had visited Ghana where he and met with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the crackdown on foreigners, especially Nigerians. G bajabianmila, during the meeting, proposed that the government revisit the GIPC law that requires a capital base of $1 million for foreign traders to start a business in the country. But speaking in an interview with Kumasi FM radio station, the Regional Chairman of GUTA, Mr Anthony Oppong, said any attempt by the government to review the law will be an insult to Ghana’s Parliament, which enacted it and the Presidency that appended its signature to the law. Oppong said: “We consider it as an insult to our parliamentarians who enacted that law and to the presidency who assented its signature to that law.
But there’s a reason for it. “The only thing sustaining Kumasi and Ashanti Region is the trading business going on here. If you allow foreigners to come and take over this business, what else will our people to do here? “Like the good book says: ‘We should love our neighbours as ourselves’.”
He added: “The government must rather strengthen it to favour our local indigenes.” The Ashanti Regional GUTA further said they would advise themselves if the law is amended in favour of the foreign traders as requested by the Nigerian government. President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, had earlier assured Gbajabiamila of the readiness of the government to consider the resolutions reached at the ‘Legislative Diplomacy Bilateral Meeting’ between Nigeria and Ghana’s senior legislators on September 2, 2020, at the Ghanaian Parliament House.
The president gave the assurance when the Speaker of Ghana’s parliament, Mike Oquaye, upon completion of the two-day extensive dialogue, led his Nigerian counterpart on a courtesy visit to the president at the Jubilee House, Accra, Ghana. The legislative diplomacy dialogue became imperative as the parliaments of the two countries sought modalities to resolve challenges and provide an enabling business environment for foreign traders, including Nigerians doing business in Ghana. Several foreign businesses, many Nigerian-owned, in Ghana, have been facing challenges in the demand for $1 million capital base for foreign traders, as enshrined in the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Act (2013). Responding to a request by Nigeria’s Speaker for a review of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act to make certain concessions, President Akufo Addo said the request was in order as it “makes a lot of sense.”