Ghana goes ahead with clampdown on foreign retail traders
--but ECOWAS MPs take exception
Foreign nationals, including citizens of ECOWAS member countries, operating shops and engaging in general retail business are being compelled to cease their operations by the Ghanaian government.
The government has launched an exercise to clampdown on foreigners it says are illegally participating in the retail trade in the country.
The operation is taking place despite the presence in the country of a delegation from the ECOWAS Parliament to intervene on behalf of nationals of ECOWAS member countries.
“We are striving to create the ECOWAS common market and there are certain ground rules that all the countries that belong to the common market must adhere to. One such rule is the national treatment principle. And that is to say that you must accord to the nationals of your country and the nationals of the member countries of the common market equality of competitive conditions in all spheres of business,” said a member of the ECOWAS parliament on Tuesday.
The exercise, which started from the capital Accra, has seen most Nigerian shops and retail businesses of nationals of other West African countries being shut down by Ghanaian authorities.
But Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Hannah Tetteh said the government was just enforcing the laws of the country barring foreigners from illegally engaging in retail business.
“It is not about policemen in uniforms going to the market to go and sack people and seize their property,” Tetteh said.
The Ghanaian Trade Minister cautioned the foreign traders concerned not to resist by using violence.
WADR’s Correspondent Kofi Agyepong reports from Accra.
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