Following disappointment from their government offering state protection to Nigerian businesses to open shops in Opera Square, members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) have decided to take their destiny into their own hands.
GUTA executives have hinted that they will soon outdoor a series of explosive actions to force the government to drive away Nigerian businesses from the retail space. There are reports the local businesses will close down Monday in the Central Business District of Accra in order to leave the Nigerian shops do business alone.
Mr. George Abbey, General Secretary of the Electrical Appliances Dealers Association of Ghana (EADAG) of GUTA told Ghanacrusader in an interview that so far as the security officers of Ghana refuse to enforce the local laws that bar foreigners from retailing, there will never be a guarantee that they can co-exist with Nigerians peacefully in the market space.
“The law is clear. They can do wholesale. Retail is reserved for us, the local people. We are not sacking Nigerians from Ghana. No. We cannot become slaves in our own country. We shall fight for our rights,” he stressed.
Mr. Abbey said the leadership of GUTA would meet to deploy a series of strategic actions to ensure the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) Law (ACT 85) is enforced without fail.
“They [Nigerian businesses] think they have law enforcement people in their pockets so they can become arrogant and misbehave. We shall show them. This is my country.
“From 2007 to 2014, the government listened to us and started to implement the law. Identity cards and other documents were inspected well in our market space. So most of the Nigerians left. It is only from 2017 that they started to come back, this time in numerous numbers.”
Mr. Abbey said the presence of Nigerians in the retail space is counter-productive to Ghana’s economy as this phenomenon only leads to capital flight.
“The sell their items at cheap prices here. At Rawlings Park, you will see them changing the cedis into dollars and they are gone. These dollars are packaged into car tires and they drive by road to Nigeria. Why won’t the cedi be falling against the dollar? We are not even checking the issues of money laundering well. This country is doomed if we don’t act,” he observed.
The government has not spoken publicly on the debacle between the local traders and their Nigerian counterparts. Nigerians doing business in Ghana hold the trumpcard of ECOWAS protocol provisions of free movement of goods, services and people, and the right to do business as the sub-region has become a community.
Government sent police quickly to guard Nigerians open their shops when they were closed in the Suame Magazine enclave of Kumasi last month.
Parliamentarians also briefly touched on it on the floor last week with most calling for the laws to be enforced.
And the executive arm of government is yet to officially state a position.