By Sunday Oyinloye
Following intensive diplomatic pressure by Nigeria, the government of Ghana has directed reopening of Nigerian owned retail businesses and shops hitherto closed by the authorities in the West African country.
The affected businesses and shops are however requested to contact the relevant State institutions and Agencies to regularize their operations
Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable checks revealed that the problem was resolved because of the proactive approach of the Nigerian High Commission to Ghana, Ambassador Michael Olufemi Abikoye who before the closure of the outlets was said to have informed his home government about the intended action of the Ghanaian government and the need to urgently addressed the issue.
A press statement on the participation of foreign nationals in retail trade in Ghana signed by Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremten a copy of which was made available to Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable reads:
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry after extensive consultation with the National Executives of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ministry of National Security, the Nigerian High Commission and other relevant institutions, hereby directs that all the affected shops or retail outlets that were closed as a result of the operations of the Taskforce on Retail Trade be opened with immediate effect.
“This is to permit the various State Institutions and Agencies to carry out their lawful mandate of enforcing local laws and regulations including those related to the operation of businesses in Ghana.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry further wishes to inform the general public that the National Committee on Retail Trade will continue to ensure that all businesses operating in the retail trade sector of Ghana are given the opportunity and support to regularize their operations and comply with the laws and regulations in the country.
“In this regard, all owners of the affected businesses and shops are requested to contact the relevant State Institutions and Agencies to regularize their operations as required by the various bodies under reference.
The Ministry takes this opportunity to assure the general public, particularly the international community that there is no orchestrated action by Government or any State Institution targeted at Nigerian nationals or any particular foreign nationals.
“It therefore strongly condemns the malicious and inaccurate reportage by some media organizations including reports in Social Media that foreign nationals operating businesses in Ghana are under any form of threat. On the contrary, Ghanaians are internationally acknowledged as very hospitable and friendly particularly to foreign nationals.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana Union of Traders Association and the Diplomatic Missions in Ghana will implement a comprehensive sensitization programme to enhance collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders engaged in the retail trade sector in Ghana.
“The Ministry therefore wishes to encourage the trading community in Ghana including foreign nationals to take all necessary steps to avoid any incidence that will mar the long standing bonds of friendship between Ghana and other countries both within the continent of Africa and across the world”.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria last Thursday met with his Ghanaian counterpart, President Nana Akufo-Addo at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York over the issue where the Ghanaian leader was quoted to have said that the action of his government was not targeted at Nigerians doing businesses in his country.
Also last week, Nigerian traders staged a peaceful demonstration at ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja over the same issue.