NANA Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana says the closure of Nigeria’s borders by the Federal Government’s has led to about 300 trucks plying the region stranded at the borders.
Akufo-Addo spoke against the backdrop of reprisal actions by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) against Nigeria’s business interest in Ghana.
The union had insisted that Nigerian traders in their country are also prohibited from any form of retail business.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had shut down its western borders to control illegal imports of agricultural produce, and other contra-bands into the country.
But an earlier report by the BBC revealed Addo’s position affirming concerns of the Ghanaian traders.
Referring to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, Addo noted that foreigners should not complain about how Ghana enforces its laws.
“Section 27(1) of Act 865 generally lays out activities that foreign investors are not permitted to invest or participate in. This list is not exclusive. Other laws have provisions on activities reserved for Ghanaians.
“These activities include the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place. Other activities not permitted for non-citizens include:
- the operation of taxi or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of less than twenty-five vehicles
- the operation of a beauty salon or a barber shop
- the printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services
- the production of exercise books and other basic stationery
- the retail of finished pharmaceutical products
- the production, and retail of sachet water.”
However, the Ghanaian President said that despite the above law which forbids foreigners in Ghana from retail activities, GUTA should enable law enforcement agencies to perform their mandates, rather than taking laws into their hands.
He earlier stated that either Chinese or Nigerians have no right to engage in retail business in his country.
“Nigerians cannot complain about our enforcement of our laws, they are doing it in their own country. So they cannot complain, there is nothing discriminatory about it. The Chinese, the Nigerians all of them should be put in the same pot in terms of the application of the law.
“What I am thinking and hoping is that members of GUTA would not take things into their own hand and that is why I intervened. GUTA cannot take the law into their own hands and by that be closing shops and all that, there is no future in that.”
“This is a very delicate and difficult issue but I think some things are obvious. GUTA are right in their interpretation of the law. The laws of our country until they are changed, have banned foreigners from engaging in retail trading in our country as well as activities in our market. Those are reserved mainly for Ghanaians.
“So if people who are known not to be Ghanaians get involved, people are expected to get agitated about it. What we need to do with this agitation is to be more rigid in enforcing the law and I am hoping the measures put in place with the support of GUTA have begun to work now. If people take the law into their own hands before you know, we have anarchy. So I am hoping they have taken that into account and at the same time, I think it is up to us the state to make sure our laws are properly applied,” Addo stated.
The Nigerian government has, however, decided to suspend the border closure policy in January 2020, though with a condition which includes demolition of warehouses built along the corridor to Nigeria’s border.