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Senate probes closure of Nigerians’ shops in Ghana

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The Senate on Tuesday sought for inquiry on the alleged closure of more than 600 shops and businesses belonging to Nigerians by Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) on Dec. 2.

The resolution of the Senate to wade into the matter followed a motion sponsored by Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP Anambra) on “The need to investigate alleged ill-treatment and injustices suffered by Nigerian Traders and Business owners in Ghana”.

Presenting the motion at plenary, Ubah decried the alleged injustice and ill-treatment of Nigerian traders and Nigerian business owners in Ghana.

He said it was a concern because Ghana and Nigeria as members of ECOWAS have reciprocal obligations under the ECOWAS Protocol to their respective citizens to reside and do business within their territories without molestation.

Ubah said as, at the end of 2010, Nigerian businesses accounted for 60 per cent of foreign investments in Ghana from African continent.

He said once flourishing economic relations between Nigeria and Ghana had come under repeated threats as a result of recent hostile posture of Ghanaian authorities and indigenous Ghanaian’s Traders Union towards Nigerian traders.

He said the Ghanaians had adopted discriminatory legislations aimed at frustrating Nigerian traders such as the passage of the Ghana Investment Promotion Commission Act 865 (GIPC).

He said the act raised the amount of money in registering businesses owned by foreigners (mostly owned by Nigerians) in Ghana to 200, 000 dollars.

He said the act further prohibits foreigners from trading in particular markets.

He said the GIPC Act 865 of 2013 also prohibits ECOWAS citizens from engaging in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises ( SMEs) with a further prohibition on registration of SMEs by foreigners.

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Ubah also said Nigeria citizens were facing frustrations in registering businesses given obstacles placed on genuine Nigerian entrepreneurs.

According to him, one of the obstacles was the requirement of proof of importation of I million dollars into Ghana.

This, he said was previously applicable to citizens of non-ECOWAS member states such as China and India, among others.

He said Nigeria and Ghana had previously set up a Joint Task Force from the Trade Ministries of both countries to inspect business facilities of companies registered under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS)in both countries.

He said both nation had also organised an economic submit in Accra in 2010 to address the dangers of threats to the business interests of Nigerians in Ghana.

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