Nigerian traders in Ghana appeal to Ghanaian government to review GIPC law on retail trade

The Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana, is calling on the Ghanaian government to mediate in the closure of shops belonging to their members.

Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji

Speaking in an interview on Accra-based Citi FM, the President of the Association, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji said the government needs to review Ghana’s trade laws to allow for them to trade legally in the country.

“We want the Ghanaian government to harmonize the GIPC Act 865, (Section 27 and 28), that bars foreigners from engaging in retail trade, with ECOWAS laws. Nigerians, in particular, are not foreigners as they are ECOWAS citizens. The government needs to do something about the law to give everyone involved some peace.”

His comment is coming at a time when the Ghana Union of Traders' Associations (GUTA) has locked up shops belonging to foreigners in Kumasi and Accra. Members of GUTA cite the existing laws on retail trade in Ghana which prevents foreigners from operating in that space.

Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji said he was happy that Nigerians in Nigeria have not carried out reprisal attacks.

“Currently, the closure of shops by GUTA from time to time is really a concern. The lack of reprisal attacks in Nigeria against Ghanaians in the past 20 years should be commended.”

However, GUTA gave the government an ultimatum for it to start enforcing the law on retail trade. Even though the ultimatum has ended, GUTA says it is not too late for the government to do the right thing.

The National Welfare Officer of GUTA, Benjamin Yeboah, said the Association is currently thinking of its next steps after the apparent silence from the government.

“We never said in our deadline that we will act immediately…we will assess the situation and decide on the line of action.”

He was certain that GUTA’s response to the lack of action will be felt nationwide.

“Whether it will be a demonstration or closure of shops or whatever, we are keeping that under our sleeves.”

“It is never too late for those who are breaking the law or flouting it to start mending their ways and leaving the market. It is never too late for the institutions who are mandated by law to start working,” he added.

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