- The Nigerian traders' association fears for the worst when government calls them 'foreigners'
- They argue by virtue of an ECOWAS agreement, they should be regarded as legitimate citizens
The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has warned that the quit notices issued to foreigners operating in the Ghanaian retail business sector could spark xenophobic attacks against these traders.
NANTS indicate that the consistent orders by the Ghana government to foreign businesses, especially those of Nigerians is unguarded. They also say it breaches the ECOWAS laws on free movement which Ghana is a signatory.
In the association's view, as far as ECOWAS protocols are concerned, Nigerian retailers in Ghana are no mere “foreigners” but citizens of Ghana who are engaged in legitimate businesses. They believe that this was not to be left to just the law books.
Their statement read: “Nigerians who are doing their legitimate businesses in Ghana as guaranteed under the ECOWAS Treaty, which no longer sees a Nigerian or any other Member State citizen residing or doing business in Ghana as a ‘foreigner’ but a citizen of Ghana.”
Buton July 11, the government issued a public notice to foreigners engaged in retail businessthat the sector is reserved for only Ghanaian nationals, to cease by July 27 or face legal action.
It quoted the law, Section 27 (1) of the GIPC Law 2013, (Act 865) states: “A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place.”
The government however later reneged on its suspension of notice before the deadline elapsed. It explained that the decision to indefinitely suspend the enforcement of the provisions of the laws on retail business was taken after consultation with stakeholders.
NANTS were grateful but hopeful that the situation did not repeat itself.
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