Members of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) have vowed to stop Nigerian traders who are bent on opening their shops in the Opera Square area of the Central Business District tomorrow.
The shops were closed by some GUTA members last Monday over accusations that Nigerians have crossed over to the retail sector which is reserved for local traders.
“Ghana’s laws are clear. The GIPC act bans foreigners from retailing. We want the law enforced. If they want to open the shops tomorrow, then they should prepare for another banter,” Mr. George Abbey, General Secretary of the Electrical Appliances Traders Association of Ghana (EATAG) said.
Mr. George Abbey disclosed to Ghanacrusader in an interview that when the skirmishes took place last time, there was a meeting with the police and the Nigerians where some consensus was reached.
“We agreed for shops to be closed for some time until the problem is resolved. We are not sacking Nigerians. They are our brothers. Look, there are Turkish, Lebanese, Indians and other foreigners here doing business. Have you seen us having any problems with them? Why only Nigerians?” he quizzed.
Mr. Abbey added that, “…retail is reserved for the local people and wholesale for foreigners. Why is there Nigerian arrogance in this matter? Our people are getting angry everyday as law enforcement officers refuse to do what is right.”
According to Mr. Abbey, Ghana is a sovereign state with laws and that should not be compared with protocols.
The local traders have consistently maintained that Nigerian traders have taken over their business of retail as stipulated in the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) Law -GIPC (Act 85). The law bars foreigners from engaging in retail trade. But Nigerian traders have posited that ECOWAS protocols allow citizens to move freely and do business.
Mr. Abbey accused the Ghana Police of selective justice when it locked some executives of GUTA in cells on 26th June this year.
The issue of Nigeria traders became a heated matter of discussion on the floor of Parliament last week. While many want a strict enforcement of the GIPC law, others want a diplomatic solution so as not to hurt the bilateral ties between the two countries.
Listen to excerpts of Mr. George Abbey’s interview on Ghanacrusader Radio;