4 July 2012

Ghana: Gov't Recognises Right of Foreigners But...

Photo: The Presidency of the Republic of Ghana
President Interacts With Market Women

Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry on Tuesday, said government recognised the right of foreigners to establish businesses in the country but they needed to abide by all legal requirements.

She said for any foreigner to establish a business in the country it was important to meet the minimum obligations before they could operate freely.

Ms Tetteh was addressing a press conference after a closed door meeting with the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Parliamentary delegation in Accra on Tuesday.

She said the meeting was to clarify issues and make it clear to the delegation that government was not only dealing with ECOWAS traders but all foreign traders operating illegally.

Ms Tetteh said the traders presented a petition to the ECOWAS Parliament creating the impression that government was taking actions against traders from within ECOWAS.

She noted that government recognised the ECOWAS right to establish, but in any ECOWAS country there was the need to regard all minimum obligations that go with it.

"As much as the ECOWAS rights give them the opportunity to do business, they must oblige by all regulations and operate legally."

Ms Tetteh indicated that foreigners must register with the Ghana Revenue Authority, Tax Secretariat and must be legal residents in Ghana before they could undertake any form of business in the country, saying these were provisions they were required to act upon and complied with.

However, she assured the delegation that the exercise of closing down foreign businesses in the country would continue, but would be suspended for some few weeks upon consultation with government officials to allow for further sensitisation.

Ms Tetteh said the exercise was about ensuring that people who undertook business in Ghana did it legally, saying we need foreign businesses to be legally compliant."If steps were not taken to ensure that these businesses operate legally, the consequences would affect all Ghanaian traders,"she added.

Ms Tetteh urged the delegation to communicate to ECOWAS that Ghana had not taken any action against ECOWAS countries but all foreigners operating in the country, adding it would formally write to them during the week to make sure Ghana's position on the issue was clarified.

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