The Federal Government has reacted to the closure of Nigerian traders’ shop in Ghana.
Nigerian traders in Ghana had raised the alarm over closure of their shops and a viral video was shared on social media to reveal the happenings.
Chukwuemeka Nnaji, President, Nigerian Traders Union in Ghana (NTUG), explained on Saturday that the Nigerian-owned shops in Accra were locked up by Ghanaian authorities who demanded evidence of their Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) registration.
According to terms stated in the GIPC, the requirement for general trading is $1 million minimum foreign equity, while registration fee is 31,500 cedis.
Nnaji told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that most of the traders could not afford the registration requirements, which they were given two weeks to pay.
“Nigerian life in Ghana matters. This is the livelihoods of Nigerians being destroyed by Ghanaian authorities. This is not being perpetrated by a trade union, but Ghanaian authorities,” he said.
“They demanded that we must employ a minimum of 25 skilled Ghanaian workers and must not trade in commodities that Ghanaian traders have applied to trade in.
“The humiliation of Nigerians is getting out of hand. We are calling on the Nigerian government to come to our aid.”
Giving reasons for its action in an interview with Starr News, Boakye Boateng, the Head of Communications, Ghana Trade Ministry, explained that the trade regulatory body had given the Nigerian traders more than enough time, stating that the traders had been served notice for over a year and were pardoned in December following the intervention of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“It cannot be that we’ve been insensitive. If that is what they’re saying, I’ll be disappointed because I’ll rather say they have rather been unfair to us as a regulatory body because we have given them more time than enough to the extent even the Ghanaians thought that the ministry was not on their side or the ministry wasn’t ready to even enforce law,” said Boateng.
“So, it’s very surprising to me for them to say that we’ve not given them enough time. If you recall as far back as December last year, these shops were locked, the president intervened and we asked that the shops be re-opened because the very law that gives GUTA the right to be the sole traders in our market, that same law requires that a certain group of people are those who can go and do law enforcement and not you, so allow us to do our work.”
Reacting in a statement on Twitter on Monday, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the government was dismayed by the forceful closure of the Nigerian-owned shops, noting that urgent steps will be taken to address the issue.
“Nigerian Government has watched with dismay the painful videos of the forceful closure of the shops of Nigerian traders in #Ghana,” said Onyeama.
“Urgent steps will be taken.”