CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Authority (GIPC), Yoofi Grant says the government is considering varied ways of ending the impasse between Nigerian retail traders and their Ghanaian counterparts.
According to him, one of these ways will be to make Ghanaian retail traders more competitive in the retail market.
“We want to create jobs for our people. How do we incentivize our retail traders to make them highly competitive? We are considering this because if our retailers are highly competitive no counterpart could distract them,” he stated.
According to Yoofi Grant, a high-powered government panel has met the Ghana Union of Traders Association and the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana to find a lasting solution to the impasse.
So far, the Ghana Union of Traders Association says they keep recording losses due to the influx of Nigerian retail traders on the Ghanaian market. This Mr Grant argues could rather be linked to a lack of competition.
Section 27(1) of the Ghana Investments Trade and Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865 states “a person who is not a citizen or enterprise which is not wholly owned by citizens shall not invest or participate in sale of goods or provision of service in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a store.” But this provision, according to the Ghanaian traders, is being blatantly flouted by the Nigerians.
So far, authorities from the Nigerian Union of Traders have ordered all Nigerians to re-open their shops following closed-door meetings with the government of Ghana.
This news has been opposed by many including the Abbosey Okai Spare Parts Association which has called on the government to either address the recurrent fracas between Nigerian and Ghanaian traders or they would advise themselves.
The group says the Nigerians are a nuisance and must be called to order. They argue they will only continue to enforce the laws of Ghana which bars foreigners from engaging in the retail sub-sector, a preserve of Ghanaians.
Currently, Ghana’s retail laws frown on foreigners (including Nigerians) engaging in retail trade as the sector has been the preserve of Ghanaians.
As some argue that government has no political will to end the influx of Nigerian retailers, others also argue that Ghana is a signatory of the ECOWAS protocol on free trade.