Leadership of the Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji, has revealed that following the continuous closure of border, Ghanians counterparts have issued quit notice to Nigerian traders.
In a statement, Nnaji said the traders regretted that the closed borders has dealt “a serious blow on the Nigerian trading community in Ghana.”
According to the statement, Ghanaian traders, under the aegis of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), have continued to harass NUTAG members in Kumasi and Accra, forcing them to close their shops.
Nnaji explained that GUTA is wrongly using the country’s GIPC Act 865, Section 27 (1a) of 2013 to harass them, a law he said is contrary to the provisions of ECOWAS protocols, thereby flouting the provisions on rules of engagement.
“Nigerian traders have lost over three million cedis in both damages done to their wares while forcing them to close shops and as actual revenue they have lost as a result of the continued border closure,” the statement read.
Several notices are said to be adorning the markets of Kumasi and Accra.
Sources say it is a common sight to read inscriptions on posters like “Attention! Attention! Attention! According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Law Act 865 Section 27A, you are not to be in our market. We are by this notice informing you to leave our market by 14th November 2019. By GUTA;”
“Warning! Warning! Warning! The agreement between GUTA, GEDA and the foreigners in our market place is up. So, the foreigners are given up to this weekend to abide by the agreement to leave our market places or they will be forcefully compelled to abide by it. By Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA) and GUTA.”
A recent report by the British Broadcasting Service (BBC), lends further credence to these claims. “More than 100 foreign-owned shops are getting shut down by Ghanaian traders in the country’s second-largest city, Kumasi.
Most of the shops are run by Nigerians. The traders shutting down the shops say they’re being run illegally but the shop owners deny this.” Representatives of the Accra and Abuja governments reportedly met on Monday, November 4, 2019, to discuss the possibilities of opening Nigeria’s border to Ghanaian traders.
At a forum, the representative of the Ghana High Commission, Sintim Barimah Asare, was said to have appealed for calm and understanding among the parties, assuring that his country remains committed to the ECOWAS treaty.
The introduction of the GIPC law, he explained, is the government’s strategy of protecting its petty traders from undue competition, stressing that the GIPC law is for medium and large enterprises and not for micro-businesses.
But a representative of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council, Ms Abiola Ogunbiyi, said while provisions of the regional integration treaty presuppose that things are working, the reality is different. She therefore called for an understanding of the provisions of the ECOWAS treaty.
In similar vein, the president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Runsewe, observed that the use of domestic policies that negate the spirit of economic integration in the sub-region limit bilateral ties among member countries.
“There are numerous institutional and infrastructure problems militating against the lofty objectives of ECOWAS. We, therefore, need to tackle the current frustrating barriers to trade in the sub-region.
“The trade treaties are not being fully implemented. Compliance levels are very low and commitment to the trade protocols is very weak. After 43 years of ECOWAS, we are still grappling with numerous tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.” he said.