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Ahead of the presentation of the country report to the ongoing Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament in Abuja, a representative of Ghana, Clement Kofi Humado, believes Nigeria is likely to raise an issue with the closure of Nigerian businesses in Ghana.
According to the Humado who is also the Member of Parliament for the Anlo constituency, Ghana is in position to explain its side of the story should it be needed.
In an interview with ghananewsonline.com.gh on the sidelines of the meeting, Humado said he does not think Ghana was wrong within the present protocols and regulations concerning ECOWAS Trade Liberalization protocol (ETL).
“If you study the ETL properly, the national rules and laws on immigration, right of residence and to do business, that is where the issue is, our domestic laws say you can move freely and have residence, but engaging in business you have to register it,” he said.
“Ghana is reserving its retail business to Ghanaians, you have to register your business but unfortunately we did not distinguish between who a foreigner is, we should have had ECOWAS citizens as part of recognition in dealing in retail business and third country nationals, those who come from outside ECOWAS they should be made to face the regulation. So once you are not a Ghanaian you are expected to be treated like a foreigner and you are suppose to deposit a million dollars capital investment before you can engage in that kind of business,” he stated.
Further pointing out that Ghana is only interpreting its laws and regulations to the later,
“We need to have further work done to harmonize the details among all other countries, what do we mean by foreigners, does it apply to third countries outside ECOWAS jurisdiction?
“Nigeria also has a problem, they had ban importation of rice to their country they didn’t distinguish between ECOWAS products and third country products”, he lamented.
Clement Kofi Humado backed his argument by pointing out that, “if Liberia has the capacity to produce rice and they have done that with their own labour technology and machine it is a rice produce from Liberia, they should be free to sell it to Nigeria. But Nigeria has ban all imported rice whether it is from Vietnam or the West African sub region, that one is also not right”, he pointed out.
“So both sides have issues that is why I think ECOWAS Commission has to resolve these things, so that we can all trade freely with each other, now the solution being adopted by Ghana is a bilateral diplomatic solution. Where the two foreign Ministers are sitting to say even as we have laws and regulations let us put it aside and let the Nigerians open their shops, as we deal with the issues outside the law”
Meanwhile the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) had earlier protested at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Asokoro, and also at the Ghanaian High Commission Abuja, against alleged discriminative closure of businesses belonging to Nigerians in Ghana.
Source: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso || ghananewsonline.com.gh, Abuja