The Ministry of Trade and Industry has issued a 30-day ultimatum to non-Ghanaians in retail trade to leave 48 markets across the country where they mostly operate.
In a public notice issued on Friday, the ministry stated that, “notwithstanding numerous interventions by the government to encourage non-Ghanaians engaged in retail trading in the market place to relocate, some non-Ghanaians have refused to comply with the directive.”
The ministry named 35 markets in Accra, 7 in Ashanti region and 2 each in the Brong Ahafo and Eastern regions. The rest are in the Northern and Upper East regions.
The Trade Ministry further warned that the “non-Ghanaians who further contravene the provisions of the Act 865 in the GIPC Law 2013 shall be prosecuted.”
In June, thousands of traders belonging to the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) in Accra and Kumasi closed down their shops in protest against government’s inability to eject the foreign traders from their markets.
Government at the time was unhappy with the traders because according to the then Deputy Minister, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye , said GUTA showed bad faith.
“If anything at all, they should have reverted to me to say that, ‘these issues we discussed with you, we have not seen any move on them’ and then I will know what to do. I have been waiting for them to bring to me the proposal they discussed. I haven’t heard anything from them,” he lamented.
The government subsequently promised to take action, but has been silent on the matter till now.
The Nigerian traders in these markets have pleaded for exemptions, usually citing some ECOWAS protocols.
The Public relations officer of the Nigerians in Ghana, Barry Ndu Nwaihim said, “We have explained to GUTA that if they start this today definitely it must have an effect on Ghanaian traders who are trading in Nigeria,” he said.
He said there are Nigerians with Ghanaian spouses and thus sending them out of the market will affect many families.
The Nigerian traders, dragged Ghana to the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in 2013 over the enforcement of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) Act.
The act, which was revised in July 2013, among others, specifies the criteria foreigners would have to meet before they can be allowed to do business in the country.
When the issue came up in 2013, the Ministry of Trade directed all the traders to regularize their business with the registrar general’s department in order to pay the appropriate taxes.
The ministry also demanded that all foreigners legalize their stay by “acquiring working and resident permits.”
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