Former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has advised Nigerian traders to move their shops from areas designated as markets, as the law of Ghana bar them from retail trade in such designated areas.
According to Mr Spio-Garbrah, Nigerian retail traders should be fine, once they choose to sell in malls or big shops outside areas designated as markets.
There has been a protracted clash between the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) and Nigerian traders in Ghana over retail business rights.
GUTA has, over the years, been closing Nigerian-owned shops based on the GIPC law that bars foreigners from engaging in retail business in the country.
The incessant closure of Nigerian shops earlier this week forced the Nigerian government to summon Ghana’s Chargé d’Affaires toAfrica’s most populous country to protest and demand resolution to the protracted problem.
Reacting to this in an interview on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Wednesday, 20 August 2020, Mr Spio-Garbrah said as Trade Minister, he learnt from the then-Chief Justice and her team that the GIPC law bars foreigners in retail trading at market arenas and, thus, advised the Nigerians and other foreigners to move their shops far away from the markets.
The former trade minister told show host Benjamin Akakpo that: “The Chief Justice and her staff pointed out that the legislation, as far as they know, was not to ban non-Ghanaians from trading in general, which many people seem to think is the law. However, the banning takes place in areas designated as market places”.
“So, the first thing to ask when there’s conflict in an area, whether Kumasi or Accra is whether that area has been designated as a market place. And the authority that designates these areas as market places are the local governments like the Accra Metropolitan Assembly or the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, would have designated Kejetia or Agbogbloshie or Mallam Atta or Kaneshie as market places.
“When that designation takes place, then people who are non-Ghanaians…they cannot sell in that area designated as a market place.
“So, what any Nigerian or Chinese or anybody considered a foreigner, who is selling in a designated place can do, is to move their shops or acquire another shop that is not in a place designated as a market. So, for example, Melcom is an Indian-owned company, it’s involved in retail trade and almost all the shops at the malls of Accra or Kumasi are retailers but they are not in areas designated as market places where they can sell and not cause any problem”.