There seems to be some breakthrough in the retail dispute between Ghanaian and Nigerian as the two sides agree to dialogue.
On Wednesday, the leadership of the two sides met on Pulse, a news analysis programme on the Joy News channel on MultiTV.
On the Pulse show President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr. Joseph Obeng, agreed to a request by the President of the Nigeria Union of Traders Association-Ghana, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji.
The meeting is expected to address concerns by local traders that the Nigerian traders were breaching bylaws and taking over businesses reserved for Ghanaian traders.
The two sides have been in dispute for many years following confusion over whether to apply local laws which forbid foreign participation in retail trade or an ECOWAS treaty that allows citizens of member states to move freely and establish economically in other member states.
Ghana’s law does not allow non-Ghanaians or non-citizens to operate in petty trading, hawking, taxi services, operation of beauty salons and barbering shops.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Act (2013) states the following:
A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by citizen shall not invest or participate in—
a. the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place;
b. the operation of taxi or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of less than twenty-five vehicles;
c. the operation of a beauty salon or a barber shop; d. the printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services; e. the production of exercise books and other basic stationery;
f. the retail of finished pharmaceutical products;
g. the production, supply and retail of sachet water; and
h. all aspects of pool betting business and lotteries, except football pool.
However, a non-citizen may participate in these markets in the case of a joint enterprise with a partner who is a citizen, invests a foreign capital of not less than $200,000 in cash or capital goods relevant to the investment or a combination of both by way of equity participation and the partner who is a citizen does not have less than 10% equity participation in the joint enterprise.
Many Nigerians are known to be engaging in these businesses in Ghana.