Senate adopts Ifeanyi Ubah’s motion on closure of Nigerian shops and businesses in Ghana
By Senator Ifeanyi Ubah
SENATE ADOPTS MY MOTION ON THE CLOSURE OF OVER 600 NIGERIAN SHOPS AND BUSINESSES IN GHANA
Today being Tuesday, December 17, 2019, I sponsored a motion on the urgent need to investigate the alleged ill treatment and injustices suffered by Nigerian traders and businesses in Ghana.
I emphatically reminded the Senate that Ghana and Nigeria as member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have reciprocal obligations under the ECOWAS protocol to their respective citizens to reside and do business within their territories without molestation.
I further stated that as at the end of 2010, Nigerian businesses accounted for 60% of foreign investments in Ghana from the African continent.
Further aware of the desire of the Ghanaian Government to promote trade and good neighborliness between Nigeria, many Nigerian businesses went to establish in Ghana creating thousands of jobs for Ghanaian citizens and generally contributing to the growth of the Ghanaian economy.
I expressed worries over the fact that the once flourishing economic relations between Nigeria and Ghana has come under repeated threats as a result of recent hostile posture of Ghanaian authorities and indigenous Ghanaian Traders Union towards Nigerian traders through;
– The adoption of discriminatory legislations aimed at frustrating Nigerian traders and businesses such as the passage of the Ghana Investment Promotion Commission Act 865 (GIPC) that raised the amount of money in registering businesses owned by foreigners (mostly owned by Nigerians) in Ghana to $200,000 and further restriction and prohibition of foreigners from trading in particular markets.
– Molestation of Nigerian traders and other hostile acts directed against Nigerian businesses such as the recent closure of over 600 shops and businesses belonging to Nigerians carried out by the Ghanaian Union of Traders (GUTA) on 2nd December, 2019 amd which remained closed ip to the time of moving this motion.
– Enactment of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) ACT 865 of 2013 which prohibits ECOWAS citizens from engaging in small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) by foreigners and
– Frustrations faced by Nigerian citizens in registering businesses as a result of obstacles placed on the way of genuine Nigerian enterprises like the requirement of proof of importation of $1million into Ghana as applicable to citizens of none ECOWAS member states such as China, India etc.
Further aware that Nigeria and Ghana had previously set up a Joint Task Force from the Trade Ministries of the two countries to inspect business facilities of companies registered under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) in both countries and both organized an Economic Summit in Accra in 2010 in order to address the dangers of the above mentioned threats to the business interests of Nigerians in Ghana.
I also expressed displeasure over the reality that the above measures and protection offered Nigerian traders under the ECOWAS framework have failed to address incessant threats to Nigerian businesses in Ghana and mindful that unless the Senate intervenes, the situation may deteriorate into a serious diplomatic and economic crisis.
I expressed doubts over the commitment of the Government of Ghana to genuinely reciprocate the sacrifices of Nigeria as a leading member state of ECOWAS by guaranteeing the safety of Nigerian businesses in Ghana.
I also raised further concerns that the complaints of affected Nigerian traders, particularly my constituents who constitute the majority of business owners in Ghana are yet to receive the deserved attention by appropriate authorities from the Federal Government of Nigeria even after repeated written complaints.
Conclusively, The Senate was convinced that there is an urgent need to investigate these allegations and indeed draw the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria and it’s relevant authorities to this unfortunate development.
The Senate Accordingly resolved to send a delegation of Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the committees of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Investment, including the Sponsor of this motion to liaise with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a view to adopt and implement measures that will protect the interests of Nigerian traders in Ghana.
It is my expectation that the delegation would holistically investigate this unfortunate development and report back to the Senate with appropriate recommendations within four weeks.
Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Ubah
Anambra South Senatorial District