Ghana’s delegation to ECOWAS Parliament has assured of measures to end the age-old trade feud between Ghanaians and Nigerian traders once and for all.
Speaker of Ghana’s parliament Alban Bagbin on a trip to Nigeria announced a decision to review the GIPC Act which bars foreigners from engaging in the retail business.
Speaking at an engagement on impending delocalized ECOWAS meeting next week at Winneba, the leader of Ghana’s delegation to the sub-regional parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin stated all unfair trade practices in both Ghana and Nigeria must end.
“…I mean when it comes to this integration and trade, we say we want to create a borderless sub-region, and then also we want to have one market. One market requires that we create, also, the balances to have some level playing field. So, if there are some incentives in one area and another area has no such incentives, it creates some imbalance when somebody gets access to that market.
“This law has created a lot of problems between us and Nigeria and I believe that when Rt Hon Speaker raised it, it’s something that we need to look at critically. I can say so and see how we can create a level playing field.”
“We may have to specifically look at how we are affected and if there is an imbalance in terms of resource availability, in terms of the laws, we can specifically deal with it. And this issue of Ghana-Nigeria ends once and for all.”
He told the media “they are our big brothers, we’ve worked together, this whole Ecowas thing was really championed initially by Ghana and Nigeria. We played a critical role, we can do better than we’ve done so far.”
The current tensions between the two countries are being blamed on bilateral trade differences.
There is an existing law that bars foreigners from retail trade – and Ghanaian traders do not want the Nigerian traders in the markets.
Ghana’s law and the current crisis
- Foreigners in Ghana can’t run small retail shops, but they can own wholesale firms or other businesses in which around $1m (£782,000) has been invested
- The law is intended to protect smaller local traders and those running small businesses like barbers or beauty salons but is not always enforced.
- Market traders have sometimes taken the law into their own hands, which prompted the authorities to do an audit of retail shops in August 2020 and close some Nigerian-run stalls.
- Foreigners married to a Ghanaian are exempt from the laws – as are those in a business partnership with a Ghanaian.
Touching on the upcoming delocalized meeting scheduled for July 27, 2021, spokesperson for Ghana’s delegation to ECOWAS Parliament Mahama Ayariga stated the meeting will seek to remove telecommunication barriers in the sub-region including roaming charges.