The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bole- Bamboi constituency of the Savannah region and Deputy Ranking member of the Committee of Trade, Industry and Tourism of Ghana’s parliament Hon Alhaji Yusif Sulemana has said that the Akufo-Addo-led government is not interested in resolving the recurring impasse between the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and foreigners, especially Nigerians.
The Bole MP in a press release issued on 1st June, 2021 and copied to Bole based Nkilgi FM said the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) petitioned the 7th Parliament of Ghana on this matter and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism looked into the issues, met the various stakeholders, and prepared a report which was never laid until the 7th Parliament rose on January 6, 2021, a situation that should solely be laid at the doorsteps of the Committee Chairman and the Majority Leader, who is the leader of government business.
“There is a clear indication of the lack of interest of government in finding lasting solution to this matter”; he stated..
According to the Deputy Ranking member Committee of Trade, Industry and Tourism, in November, 2019, the then Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Carlos Ahenhorah, noted that the inability of government to resolve this issue should be blamed on what he described as a shoddy law and that Hon Ahenkorah said that the absence of any penal provisions in Act 865 is responsible for this lingering problem.
“After noting this, what one would have expected from a responsible and interested government would have been a review and amendment of this so-called defective law. This is yet to be done. I am therefore left with no choice than to call out government on this disinterest; Hon Sulemana said.
The Bole MP explained that sections 27 and 28 of Act 865 provides restrictions to participate in retail trade by foreigners and conditions that foreigners must fulfil to allow for entry into the sector and that the inability to implement this Act in this respect has resulted in conflict between the GUTA and foreigners, especially Nigerians, in our markets in Accra and Kumasi.
He said these conflicts have lately resulted in closure of shops in Makola and Suame belonging to foreigners resulting in some diplomatic tensions between Ghana and Nigeria.
The Deputy Ranking member of the Committee of Trade, Industry and Tourism said in August, 2020, the Nigerian Government released a statement entitled; “We’ll No Longer Tolerate Harassment of Our Citizens in Ghana”.
The Bole MP said he took notice of an impending visit by a Nigerian Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for talks on the conflicts between the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and foreigners, especially Nigerians.
“While I particularly welcome this initiative by the Nigerian Government, I doubt this visit will yield anything concrete because if we will recall, in September, 2020, the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives led a high-powered delegation to meet his counterpart, then Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye and the mission of that visit was to resolve this same issue.
“This engagement between the number 3 most important persons in Ghana and Nigeria failed to trigger any meaningful steps from the Government of Ghana. It will therefore be surprising that a lower level visit will achieve much.
“I conclude by nudging the President and his Minister of Trade and Industry to start attaching the required seriousness that this issue deserves. If government subscribes to the position espoused by Hon Ahenkora, they must review and present a bill to Parliament to amend the Act”.