August 26, 2020

Deputy Ranking Member of Ghana’s Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry  and Tourism,  Sulemana Yusif is calling for depoliticizing of the brouhaha that has occurred with Nigerians indulging in retail business in Ghana and their shops being locked up.

According to him the brouhaha has persisted for quite a long time and the time has come to depoliticize the issue to ensure that Ghana’s diplomatic relation with its West African countries is not jeopardized.

“The Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Act is clear on who is eligible to do retail trade in Ghana, if you look at the clauses it is clear what a foreigner would need to do retail business.  And the challenge has been we have not been able to implement this law to the latter that is why we have these challenges”.

He further pointed out in an interview that the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration set up a taskforce which included relevant stakeholders including members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association.

And what they did was to approach the Nigerians and other foreigners who are allegedly doing retain business and to get in touch with the Nigerian Traders Association so that they would be able to identify those who are breaking the Ghanaian law.

“Unfortunately, currently the taskforce has gone to bed, so when that happened GUTA members had to take the law into their hands that is why we saw the closure of some Nigerian shops. If the task force was indeed working we would not have seen things in this manner. For me, I think the time has come to look at things in the perspective of the law”.

And if the law contradicts with ECOWA treaty or protocols, the time has come for us to look at it very critically, if not I would not blame GUTA at all. What they are asking is for the government to ensure that the laws put in place works.

Again, to what extent would GUTA take the law into their hands since we are in a global world where one does not necessary need to travel to do business? There should be a way of working out if it is a new law that has to come into force, “for us to trade with our neighbors and they are able to come here to do business without any problem”.

In addition, every election year this issue pups up all because authorities who are supposed to ensure that Ghanaian laws work go to sleep and you have GUTA coming up strongly during this time.

He further pointed out that GUTA has approached their Committee hence the need to take away politics from the issues because whatever is said today after the elections will come to hunt any party that wins the December 7, 2020 election.

And as opposition MP, they could be in government and for him GUTA should be supported to ensure that laws are put in place that works and the current government should rise to the occasion, so that GUTA would not feel the laws on retail in Ghana is being broken and nothing is being done. And again, anyone who wants to do retail business should go through the process “if you are a foreigner”.

In addition, once you are qualified to do retail business you can go ahead and government would have to ensure that these laws are respected if not there would be chaos.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/