ghana

Ghana Justifies $1m Levy Imposed on Nigerian Traders, Cites Seme Border Closure, Executive Orders

Ghana at the weekend defended the $1 million levy imposed on Nigerian traders, saying the fee relates solely to persons who are not citizens, but want to engage in retail trade or trading activities, which are otherwise restricted exclusively to Ghanaians.

A statement by Ghana’s Minister of Information, Endkojo Nkrumah, on Sunday, also said it was on record that Nigeria had taken a number of steps in recent months, in pursuit of her national interests, which had gravely affected other countries in the Region.

The minister cited the closure of Nigeria’s Seme Krake Border from August 2019 to date and the issuance of executive orders by Nigeria’s President, which prevent foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do.

The minister said following the recent diplomatic row between Nigeria and Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, will engage President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to developing a framework for validating claims of ill treatment of citizens of both countries and ensure their citizens enjoy the full exercise of their rights in their host countries.

The Ghanaian government said it remains committed to the maintenance of warm relations with all sister nations, particularly with Nigeria and would proceed with a view to resolving comprehensively and exhaustively any matter that had the potential to sour relations between the two countries.

Ghana decried the press release by Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, last week, saying it was a clear departure from the manner in which officials of the two countries had related with each other in the past.

Ghana insisted that the outline of issues by Nigeria was not reflective of the developments in Ghana, stressing that any protests, decisions or actions based on these reports would be unjustified.

The Ghanaian government while denying allegation of media war against Nigerians in Ghana, insisted that there was no negative reportage on Nigerian residents in Ghana by Ghanaian media, which could potentially lead to xenophobic attitude towards Nigerians, particularly Nigerian traders in Ghana.

On the contrary, Nkrumah noted that the negative reportage had been against the Ghanaian government from high places, adding that tweets by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, and a Nigerian businessman, “who appears to have political interests in Ghana” in Nigeria, adding that this was inconsistent with “established practice in our very good relations”.

On the allegation of outrageous stipulations and amendments of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) Act, Ghanaian Government described as untrue, saying the law has been amended twice, and accordingly, there was no 2018 GIPC Act.

It added that perhaps, the reference is to Sections 27 (2 & 3) of the GIPC Act and relate solely to persons who are not citizens, but want to engage in retail trade or trading activities, which are otherwise restricted exclusively to Ghanaians.

It said: “No Nigerian trader has been arrested. The closure of shops was as a result of infractions on Ghanaian laws. Even then, those affected who are not only Nigerians, have been given ample time to regularise their documents. Furthermore, no Nigerian-owned shops are currently closed.”

On the allegation of aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana, which saw 825 Nigerians deported between January 2018 and February 2019, the Ghanaian Government said the statement was not factual, while explaining that in 2019, 700 Nigerians, who were found to have been involved in criminal activities such as fraud, prostitution, armed robbery, among others were deported.

“The Federal Republic of Nigeria on the other hand, is on record to have taken a number of steps in recent months, in pursuit of her national interests, which have gravely affected other countries in the Region. These include the closure of Nigeria’s Seme Krake Border from August 2019 to date and the issuance of executive orders by Nigeria’s Presidency, preventing foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do, to mention a few. Ghana and other West African countries continue to believe to redress even actions like these can be sought, diplomatically, without resort to media statements and related activities that have the potential to aggravate further the situation.”

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