Ghanaian traders are up in arms against President Mahama's decision to freely permit Nigerian traders in the Ghanaian retail sector. According to them, Nigeria has consistently banned Ghanaian products from its own markets.
The Nigerian government has refuted accusations by Ghanaian traders that it consistently bans Ghanaian exports from Nigeria.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association- GUTA Tuesday, declared utter displeasure about President Mahama's decision to allow Nigerian Traders to operate in the retail sector of the Ghanaian economy without adherence to the Ghana Investment Promotion Council's $300,000 capital requirement.
According to the traders' association, the president's decision is in contravention of the existing GIPC law, which is still in full operation.
Their other argument is that contrary to the intra-trade goals that president Mahama wants to achieve in the West African sub region, the Nigerian government consistently bans Ghanaian exports from their country. GUTA therefore does not see why such courtesies should be afforded Nigerian retailers in Ghana.
The Nigerian high-commissioner, Adebola Oluseyi Onaafokan to Ghana has however, debunked that assertion, labelling it as untrue.
"Nigeria will never never, I say that with all authority. Anything produced in Ghana, which is 100 percent Ghanaian is totally allowed in the Nigerian market. This is allowed under the ECOWAS protrocol for intra-trade within West Africa."
His Excellency Adebola Oluseyi Onaafokan however stressed that there are restrictions against products produced in third countries which are merely being transported from Ghana or any other West African country, then that will not be allowed in Nigeria.
" Unless the product is from a third country, and is being transported from a West African country. But if everything is produced in Ghana, it is totally allowed in Nigeria. But in the case where a third party produces something and packages it as though it is coming from Ghana in order to take advantage of the Nigerian market, you will agree with me that that is not fair. We have agricultural produce from the Ghanaian market in Nigeria, we have companies like Kasapreko in Nigeria a well" the ambassador stressed.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Private Enterprises Federation, has described the decision by government to permit Nigerian traders in the retail sector without adhering to the requirements of the GIPC ACT as illegal. The president is not above the law, and needs to respect the law.
" For me it is completely illegal. Once we have the GIPC Act, and it is still in operation, we cannot take any decision that opposes it. Until the part of the GIPC Act that states the requirements and restrictions of foreign retailers in our market, we cannot take a decision that opposes it."
The Ecowas Intra-Trade Protocols are aimed at allowing all citizens of West African countries to freely live, move and work in the West African sub-region.