A joint communique between Ghana and Nigeria on the sides of the Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit will exempt Nigerians from the $1 million minimum capital requirement under the GIPC Act 2013, Act 865, which hitherto prevents them from trading in Ghana’s retail market.
This announcement was made by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin to Nigeria’s House of Representatives last week.
According to Mr. Bagbin, this intervention brings to end the 25-year retail impasse between Ghana and Nigeria.
“…of particular mention is the reconsideration of the $1 million minimum requirement for trading enterprises under section 28(2) of the Act. This is to facilitate regularization of the businesses of affected Nigerian retail traders in the trade impasse.”
“Equally commendable is the special concession to be applied to a requirement for a payment of 0.5 stamp duty. Our Parliament is working to make sure this does not apply to our brothers and sisters from Nigeria,” Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin announced.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has held strong exceptions to this announcement by the Speaker of Parliament.
President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, condemns the announcement, stating it is a slap on the faces of Ghanaian traders.
He is warning that any attempt to review the GIPC Act 2013 will spell economic and security doom for the Ghana.
“The joint communique has not even surfaced. We all factored our inputs. It is something unknown to stakeholders. What was the Speaker talking about, was it to please the people of Nigeria as against the people of Ghana?”
“The trading community in Ghana wants this law and it should be made clear. Traders in Ghana might seem to be gentle but we must be careful because they are very passionate of this law. This law pulled the brakes on Nigerian retailers overtaking our markets. These exemptions will do us more harm than any good,” Dr. Obeng told Joy Business.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin was accompanied to the Nigerian House of Representatives by the Chairman of the Committee on Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah; Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Bryan Acheampong, among other Parliamentary officials.
Closure of Nigerian shops
GUTA had earmarked the month of May 2021 for the closure of retail shops owned by undocumented foreign retailers.
Speaking to Charles Ayitey on the Market Place, President of GUTA, revealed that the exercise will encompass retail markets at Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and the Central Region.
“The taskforce meant to close the shops has not been active for a while. We shall resume somewhere in May 2021. This time around, we are targeting some major spots in Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and others. It’s all about the law,” he maintained.
Figures from the Trade Ministry and GUTA show that close to 200 retail shops of undocumented foreign retailers are under lock across Accra and Kumasi.
“Out of these 200 shops, none has proven to have the right documents to operate. It gives us more reason to keep them closed,” he added.
So far, Chief Nkem Tony Onyeagolu (former President for All Nigerians Community- Ashanti Region) has appealed to the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo to issue a directive for the re-opening of shops owned by Nigerian traders.
Since the closure of their retail shops that is those owned by Igbos trading in Ghana by the local authorities, things according to him have gotten worse for them.
He explained that majority of Igbo traders victimized by the move are hard pressed financially, highly indebted and have not been able to pay off loans they took from financial institutions to run their business.
The closure of these shops was done by the Trade Ministry with support from GUTA.