The Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) has descended on the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, for announcing that Nigerian traders will be exempted from the $1 million minimum capital under the GIPC Act, Act 865.
Addressing the media, President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, described the review as retrogressive and spiteful on the face of Ghana’s trading community, adding, Ghanaian traders have resolved to go all out including protests to preserve the retail trade sector.
“We will resist any attempt to take away the only retail market the 1992 Constitution grants us. No attempts by the 8th Parliament through the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to review or change the GIPC Act that ensures foreign retailers including Nigerians, pay a minimum capital of $1 million. We will never sit back and watch this happen. GUTA is prepared for a nationwide protest should this happen,” Dr. Joseph Obeng, told the media.
Joint Ghana-Nigeria Trade communique
A joint communique between Ghana and Nigeria on the sides of the Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit has exempted Nigerians from the $1 million minimum capital requirement under the GIPC Act 2013, Act 865 which hitherto prevents them from trading in Ghana’s retail market.
This announcement was made by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin to Nigeria’s House of Representatives last week.
According to Mr. Bagbin, this intervention brings to an end the 25-year retail impasse between Ghana and Nigeria.
“…of particular mention is the reconsideration of the 1-million-dollar minimum requirement for trading enterprises under section 28(2) of the Act. This is to facilitate regularization of the businesses of affected Nigerian retail traders in the trade impasse. Equally commendable is the special concession to be applied to a requirement for a payment of 0.5 stamp duty. Our Parliament is working to make sure this does not apply to our brothers and sisters from Nigeria,” Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin announced.
Closure of Nigerian shops
The Ghana Union of Traders Association had earmarked the month of May 2021 for the closure of retail shops owned by undocumented foreign retailers.
Speaking to Charles Ayitey on the Market Place, President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng revealed that the exercise will encompass retail markets at Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and the Central Region.
“The taskforce meant to close the shops has not been active for a while. We shall resume somewhere in May 2021. This time around, we are targeting some major spots in Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and others. It’s all about the law,” he maintained.
Figures from the Trade Ministry and GUTA show that close to 200 retail shops of undocumented foreign retailers are under lock across Accra and Kumasi.
“Out of these 200 shops none has proven to have the right documents to operate. It gives us more reason to keep them closed,” he added.
So far, Chief Nkem Tony Onyeagolu (former President for All Nigerians Community- Ashanti Region) has appealed to the President of Ghana, Akufo-Addo to issue a directive for the re-opening of shops owned by Nigerian traders.
Since the closure of their retail shops i.e those owned by Igbos trading in Ghana by the local authorities, things according to him have gotten worse for them.
He explained that the majority of Igbo traders victimized by the move are hard-pressed financially, highly indebted, and have not been able to pay off loans they took from financial institutions to run their business.
The closure of these shops was done by the Trade Ministry with support from GUTA.