RETAIL businesses owned by Nigerians in Ghana have been shut down by Ghanaian traders who feared Nigeria’s would take over their businesses in Accra.
The action is the second time in recent weeks that Nigerian traders at Opera Square have been assaulted by members of the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA).
In June, about 20 shops owned by Nigerians were also closed by the same members of the association.
This latest confrontation came a few days after the Ghanaian Parliament in support of the traders insisted that foreigners must be barred from engaging in retail business in the country.
“These foreign retailers have found a loophole in our retail laws and are capitalising on that. We have failed as a country to preserve what to Ghanaians. We will not sit down and watch them take over our market.
“We don’t hate Nigerians, We just want the laws to work,” said Joseph Obeng, President of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), who has adamantly insisted that the ban on retail business by foreigners must be enforced.
Although, Kwasi Ofori, Chief Superintendent Accra Regional Operations Officer, Ghana Police reportedly said that: “Measures have been put in place to ensure sanity prevails. We have also invited both parties to work out the best ways to resolve the matter before it escalates.”
He said that the leadership of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and executives of Nigeria Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) has been invited by the police to help facilitate the mediation process.
According to GhanaWeb, shops of Nigerians at Suame Magazine at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region were shut down by their Ghanaian counterparts in June.
The newspaper reported that Nigerians who deal in vehicle spare parts complained that their Ghanaian counterparts shut down their shops preventing them from selling.
It said some of the Ghanaian retailers at the market accused the Nigerians of evading tax and selling substandard products which is a threat to the market.
The Ghanaian retailers added that the actions of these Nigerian shop owners are affecting their sales because most people do not want to buy the secondhand products anymore but the substandard new ones brought in by the Nigerians.
“People don’t buy from us anymore and they (Nigerians) are smart and fast, because of the Nigerians they don’t buy anything from Ghanaians, they have destroyed the market they bring in substandard parts because of that everybody wants new not the home used…”
President of the Nigerian Retailers Association Ike Chuku said they have lodged an official complaint with the police and they assured them that they will help deal with the situation.
“On Friday we came back and they continued the same thing and the police intervened, but after the police left they came back and continued with the same thing, we have decided to lodge an official complaint.”
In 2018, members of GUTA locked up the shops of about 20 Nigerians at the same Suame Magazine in the Ashanti region. Their grievance was that the law had made it was an offence for non-Ghanaians to own and run retail businesses in the country.
The law they were referring to is Act 865 of the GIPC law 2013 Section 27(1) which states ‘A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in 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.’