Ghanaians fear Nigerian domination of economy

Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs. Hannah Tetteh, on Sunday explained why the alleged xenophobic feelings in her country had remained despite efforts at resolving it. Ghanaian business men were accused of asking foreigners, including Nigerians to leave, for “dominating” their economy.

Tetteh, who spoke with journalists at a press conference at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Sunday, said Ghanaian traders were not happy that while Nigerian goods are having free access to the Ghanaian Market, Nigeria had refused to give such access to Ghanaian goods which come under Nigeria’s Import Prohibition List.

The minister said that Ghanaian traders believed that such ought not to be the Case under the economic integration policy on which the Economic Community of West Africa States was based.

According to her, she said following complaints by Ghanaian Trade Union Association, the ministry found out that some foreigners including Nigerians doing business at a certain area in Accra were not in compliance with the $350,000 minimum capital required by non-Ghanaians to operate a business.

This, she said her ministry looked into and gave Nigerian businessmen a concession to come together and raise the capital, a development which Ghanaian traders were not still happy about, believing that Nigerians traders do not deserve such pointing to her Import prohibition policy.

Tetteh refuted an allegation that its government was further raising the stake for doing business from $350,000 to $1m, saying such was only a proposal for legislation raised by the Ghana Investment Promotion council, which was yet to get to Cabinet.

The Minister further said that all foreign banks operating in Ghana had been asked to recapitalise on or before December 31, 2009 in preparation for an “oil economy” which her country would start operating from next year, contrary to allegation that such was being targeted at Nigerian banks.

She said that Ghanaian banks had also being asked to do same before December 31, 2010. On why there was difference in the compliance date, Tetteh, said, “Such was only meant to be home advantage purpose.”

However, the Minister who was an official visit to Nigeria for the purpose said she had met with the Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Commerce, Mr. Humphrey Aba, and decision had been reached for the creation of a technical cooperation committee which would resolve the problem