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Ghanaians Angry Over Border Closure! Order Nigerian Businesses To Leave Markets


• Order Nigerian businesses to leave markets by Nov 14
• Customs halts fuel supply to frontier filling stations

Nigerians
doing business in Ghana have been asked to quit their shops by
Thursday, November 14, 2019, or be forcibly evicted in apparent
retaliation against the Federal Government’s closure of the borders.

The ultimatum was issued by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) and the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA).

One
of the notices sighted yesterday at strategic locations in markets
across Ghana, especially in Kumasi, reads in capital letters:
“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.”

Another notice states “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 GEDA and GUTA.”

A
Nigerian trader in Ghana told The Guardian: “They have closed some of
the shops and threatened to close the shops belonging to Nigerians
before November 14. They are angry because of Nigeria’s border closure,
which has affected their businesses.

“The threat and notice for
Nigerians to quit their market premises have been on for about 15 years
now. There is an ongoing government campaign to send Nigerians back to
their country. Since the present government in Ghana got into power,
Nigerians are being deported for lack of work permits, prostitution,
fraud, and other excuses.

“They have increased the cost of
getting a work permit and taxation of Nigerian businesses in order to
frustrate them. Even when you pay for all these, it might take, at
least, three months to get back your international passport.”

According
to a recent report by the BBC, “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.

The
border was closed in August 2019 to prevent the smuggling of products
from neighbouring West African countries. Many trucks have since been
stranded at the Seme border. Over the weekend, the Nigerian government
announced that the restriction would remain till January 31, 2020.

Ghana’s
deputy trade and industry minister, Carlos Ahenkorah, while speaking on
The Big Issue over the weekend said he was hopeful that both parties
would reach an agreement to facilitate trade.

The president of
Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji,
had earlier told The Guardian that despite the provisions of ECOWAS
protocols, Ghana’s use of its GIPC Act 865, Section 27 (1a) of 2013,
flouts the provisions on rules of engagement.

He said while Ghana
continues to enjoy the privileges conferred on ECOWAS citizens in the
region, the government and its people keep prohibiting other citizens
from doing the same in Ghana.

“Despite the discussions between
Nigerian and Ghanaian governments at the United Nations General Assembly
in New York, the ordeal of Nigerian traders in Ghana escalated as the
Ghana Union Traders Association took a different turn by attacking
businesses in the Ashanti region.

“Getting a residence permit is
more difficult than getting the USA Green Card. The conditions are
enormous. Already, we are advising Nigerian traders to leave Ghana until
the challenges are addressed, especially as Ghana Immigration Services
are equally cracking down on foreigners, particularly Nigerians,” he
said.

A representative of the Ghana High Commission, Sintim
Barimah Asare, at a recent forum, appealed for calm and understanding
among operators, pledging that his country remains committed to the
ECOWAS treaty.

He said the Ghanaian government seeks to protect
its petty traders from undue competition, stressing that the GIPC law is
for medium and large enterprises and not for micro-businesses.

Representative
of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council, Ms Abiola Ogunbiyi, called for
an understanding of the provisions of the ECOWAS treaty. She said while
provisions of the regional integration treaty presuppose that things are
working, the reality is different.

The president of the Lagos
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Runsewe, noted 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.

The
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) meanwhile has halted the supply of
petroleum products to filling stations within 20 kilometres of all the
land borders.

The directive might not be unconnected with
allegations that operators of some border filling stations were
conniving with criminals to smuggle fuel to neighbouring countries.

Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, who gave the directive through a memo signed by Chidi A, the Deputy Comptroller General (Enforcement, Inspection, and Investigation), said petroleum tankers must not be allowed to discharge contents within said distances.

Source:- Guardianng

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Last Updated: November 8, 2019

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