Nigeria: Senate to Investigate 'Injustices' On Nigerian Traders, Businesses in Ghana

(file photo).
17 December 2019

The Senate on Tuesday delegated its Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Investment to liaise with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate the status of Nigerian businesses in Ghana.

This resolution was adopted after the lawmakers discussed alleged injustice and ill-treatment of Nigerian traders and business owners in Ghana.

Anambra senator, Ifeanyi Ubah, who sponsored the motion, said economic relations between Nigeria and Ghana has come under repeated threats as a result of the recent hostile posture of Ghanaian authorities and indigenous Ghanaian Traders Union towards Nigerians.

This, he said, the Ghanaian authorities have done through the adoption of "discriminatory legislations aimed at frustrating Nigerian traders and businesses."

"... such as the passage of the Ghana Investment Promotion Commission Act 865 (GIPC) that raised the amount of money in registering businesses owned by foreigners (mostly owned by Nigerians) in Ghana to $200,000 and further restriction and prohibition of foreigners from trading in particular markets;

"Molestation of Nigerian traders and other hostile acts directed against Nigerian businesses such as the recent closure of over six hundred shops and businesses belonging to Nigerians carried out by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) on 2nd December, 2019 and which remained closed up to the time of moving this motion," he said.

Mr Ubah also lamented the enactment of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865 of 2013 which "prohibits ECOWAS Citizens from engaging in small and medium scale enterprises (SMES) with a further prohibition on registration of SMEs by foreigners."

He said Nigerians who try to register businesses sometimes need to show proof of importation of $1million into Ghana as applicable to citizens of non-ECOWAS member states such as China, India, among others.

The complaints of affected Nigerian traders and business owners are yet to receive the deserved attention by appropriate authorities from the Federal Government of Nigeria even after repeated written complaints, he said.

"There is an urgent need to investigate these allegations and indeed draw the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its relevant authorities to this unfortunate development," he added.

Lawmakers took turns to discuss the motion and thereafter, resolved to investigate the state of Nigerian traders and businesses in Ghana.

At a press briefing, journalists asked Mr Ubah what would happen if Ghana decided to retaliate.

He said Nigerians need to sit up and fight for their rights and dignity.

"It is always during election periods in all these West African countries that presidential candidates come to Nigerians to seek for help.

"And we give them money, we support them, including the current President of Ghana, and whenever they get in, they forget their yesterday," he said.

The lawmaker said the policy that made Nigeria close its border, borders on smuggling or issues that need to be ratified between border-countries.

"It is not that we closed our border but there are certain things that have come into the country, polluting the country.

"We did not close our border because we don't want the cooperation of west Africa. If they take it as a retaliatory process, we will look at it... at the end of the day.

"For me, I don't think it is right to lock the shops of Nigerians - over 600 of them. It simply means 'who are you?', 'what can you do?' and Nigerians should stand up on this motion to prove that we are Nigerians," he said.

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