10 August 2012

Nigeria: Ghana Cancels Policy On $300,000 Base for Nigerian Traders

The Ghanaian Government has rescinded its policy compelling Nigerian businessmen and traders to pay a minimum capital of 300,000 dollars or have their businesses closed.

The policy also mandated the Nigerian businessmen and traders to employ at least five Ghanaian as condition to operate their offices and shops. Nigeria's High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Ademola Onafowokan, made this known to State House correspondents in the advanced team of President Goodluck Jonathan's visit to Accra.

The President will participate in the funeral rites of Mills scheduled for today and meet with Ghana's new leader, President John Dramani Mahama during his visit to Accra. Jonathan is expected as the head of the Nigerian official delegation to the funeral of late President of Ghana, John Atta-Mills.

Onafowokan, said that the controversial capital base and employment requirements had caused a lot of furore for Nigerian businessmen in Ghana before the commission intervened in the matter.

He said that the Federal Government with the Foreign Affairs Ministry had explored possible diplomatic means to stop the discriminatory and unfair trade laws. The envoy said that it was practically impossible for the Ghanaian authority to drive Nigerian businessmen away because of the pivotal role they played in the economy of that country.

He said that Nigerians had contributed immensely to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow of the Ghana economy. "We have been able to speak with the Ghanaian authorities to drop the issue of 300,000 dollars and for now they are not disturbing any Nigerian. As the High Commissioner, I can tell you that.

"Right now we have spoken to them and everything is calm. But even if we did not do that Ghana will not try it. If Ghana says the Nigerian businesses should go home, both the big ones and the small ones, the economy of this country will collapse, because maybe only after China, Nigeria is the second biggest investor in terms of FDI in this country.So they will not drive them away but at the same time when you go to somebody's place you have to learn to conform.

"These people a few of them do not have the necessary paper and how can you regularise your stay without the necessary paper, and they know your shops, so, that is the major cause," he said. Onafowokan, however, underscored the need for Nigerians in Ghana to comply with the ECOWAS and Ghana laws on immigrations.

He said that there were many Nigerians resident in Ghana without Nigerian passport and valid resident permit. The envoy explained that the ECOWAS Treaty on Free Movement provides that an immigrant to a member state should obtain relevant resident permit after three months of domicile in the country.

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