Border closure retaliation: Ghanaian traders union shuts Nigerian shops, to clamp down on more

Shops owned by Nigerians in five markets located in Kumasi, Ghana, have been shut by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) two weeks after the regional secretary of the union, David Amoateng urged Ghanaians to boycott Nigerian goods over the border closure by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Nigerian traders, who own the shops, were alledgely forced out of their businesses before their shops were shut in Kejetia, Suame Magazine, Adum and Asafo markets, all located at Kumasi, the Ashanti Region capital. This is the second time such action will be taken this year.

While speaking on the crackdown of Nigerian shops, GUTA Public Relations Officer, Albert Offei, said more shops will be closed across the country as the action will soon extend to other parts of Ghana. The next location or city was not disclosed.

Why the shutdown: According to the association, the Nigerian traders and shop owners flouted the Ghana constitution by operating businesses like taxis, beauty salons, selling medicine, production and sale of sachet water, among other petty trades.

It was disclosed that the Ghanaian constitution reserved such level of business for Ghanaians and not foreigners. A report stated that section 27 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865, bars foreigners from sale of goods, provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling goods in a shop.

Other activities not permitted for non-citizens include:

  • Operation of taxi or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of less than twenty-five vehicles.
  • Operation of a beauty salon or a barber’s shop.
  • Printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services.
  • Production of exercise books and other basic stationery.
  • Retail of finished pharmaceutical products.
  • Production and retail of sachet water.

Why Nigerian traders flouted the law: According to GUTA, Nigerian traders are claiming the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and persons across the sub-region allows them to trade and do any kind of business in Ghana.

Retaliation for border closure: While the Ghanaian traders’ union defended its action with the constitution, there are claims that the shutdown of the shops was provoked by the border closure because the association specifically targeted shops owned by Nigerians.

Also, the regional secretary of the union, David Kwadwo Amoateng, has threatened retaliation against President Buhari’s border decision two weeks ago, urging Ghanaians to boycott Nigerian goods because the border closure was affecting the West African country. Ghana’s Alomo Bitters lost about $2 million in revenue as a result of the closure of Nigerian borders.

Nairametrics had also reported the plea by the Ghanaian government to President Buhari to open the border but President Buhari is not willing to yield. Ghana has now banned importation of rice for three years.

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