Trade, Foreign Affairs Ministries must intervene in Ghana-Nigeria traders dispute.

A dispute resolution consulant, Mr. Saeed Musah-Khaleepha, has called for the intervention of the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and the Attorney General Department, to effectively resolve the raging dispute between the Ghanaian and Nigerian traders.

According to Mr. Musah-Khaleepha, who is the Executive Director of the Gamey & Co ADR Centre, such collective intervention is needed, because the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) and the Nigerian Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG) cannot resolve the impasse on their own.

“It is something that the Ministry of Trade in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General Department should make a collaborative effort to meet the two stakeholders involved in this impasse, and then take critical look and assessment of the law, the needs of the different populations, including both citizens and non citizens, engage them in finding a fruitful and lasting solution to the matter,” he said.

Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry

Members of GUTA continue to clash with Nigerian traders operating in cities in Ghana. GUTA claims the Nigerians were operating in retail business contrary to Ghanaians trading regulations, and has forcibly closed down retail shops owned by Nigerians, resulting in frequent clashes.

Although there have been calls for both sides to meet and settle matters, GUTA has expressed its unwillingness to be part of such meeting due to NUTAG’s posturing.

But speaking to ADR daily, Mr. Musah-Khaleepha said he not surprised at GUTA’s current stance since it’s possible for parties in a situation like this to take entrenched position considering their constituents and their interest as well.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

“Clearly they have constituents and interest and they are reading the law in a way that favors them. As it is their right to do so as a body with business interest, the NUTA also has interest and also articulating same and calling for a review of the law.

“The war of words we have seen in the media is not healthy, and if we do not make a conscious and strategic intervention in this matter, some segment of the population will take the matter into their own hands and visit mayhem on other people participating in economic activity in Ghana,” he added.

Suggesting the conciliatory mechanism as the best approach in resolving the current impasse, the Mr Musah-Khaleepha, maintained that despite both groups taking entrenched positions, applying the conciliatory mechanism would help both parties on an individual base to appreciate the need to sit around a table for a productive conversation.

Source: Benjamin Nana Appiah/

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