4 July 2012

Ghana: Taskforce Closes Shops Owned by Foreign Nationals

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

In spite of the visit of ECOWAS Parliamentary delegation to Ghana, the Inter-Agencies Task Force yesterday went on to enforce the law banning foreign traders operating in Ghana's small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

The taskforce closed shops owned by foreign nationals at the Makola Market in Accra, and other markets invaded by these non-Ghanaians, who were operating illegally in Ghana's retail business sector.

The Inter Agency Taskforce comprise of officials from the Registrar Generals Department, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the Ghana Revenue Authority, Police, Immigration Service, Trade and Foreign Affairs Ministries earlier met to strategize on how to carry out the exercise.

Recently, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms. Hannah Tetteh said the monitoring exercise by the Inter-Agencies Task Force would ensure that non-Ghanaians fully complied with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) laws.

"The task force will move in the markets to shut down shops of non-Ghanaians who flout the laws of the land," she said.

Ms. Tetteh noted that the provisions in the GIPC Act 478 was applicable to Ghanaians and citizens of the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS), hence the need for non-Ghanaians to comply with the minimum investment requirement of $300,000.

The exercise went on despite strenuous efforts made by the visiting ECOWAS Parliamentary delegation to Ghana to intervene on behalf of ECOWAS nationals.

The President of the Nigerian Community in Ghana, Mr. Albert Bayor, joined hundreds of Nigerian businesses and called for a review of the law. They hoped that the visiting ECOWAS delegation could come to their aid.

The implementation of the GIPC Act 478, which is aimed at ensuring Ghanaians are not pushed out of business by foreign nationals, has irked some Nigerians and other ECOWAS nationals in the sub-region.

Recently, Nigeria, West Africa's largest economy, threatened to severe diplomatic ties with Ghana.

But, Ghana's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, who said he was unaware of moves to sever diplomatic ties, said his country had not violated the rights of foreign businesses by implementing the GIPC Act.

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