A member of the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade, who is also Director for Investment at Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Edward Ashong Lartey, has advised foreign traders, especially Nigerian traders, to register with the centre to prevent stringent sanctions from authorities.
According to him, Nigerians who refuse to register with the GIPC and engage in retail trading in the markets will have their shops closed down or may even be made to face the law since retailing is for indigenes.
“If you want to do retail trade, don’t go into the market. So, for those in the markets, if you have complied with the requirement, or you are still in an area where you are not supposed to be physically located, we will advise you to relocate. We are doing it with a human face, but at the same time, we are mindful of the provisions of the law,” he told the B&FT.
Even though Nigerian traders have been asked to desist from retailing in the local market, checks by the B&FT indicate that there are quite a number of them on the market especially, Suame Magazine in the Ashanti Region.
An importer, who trades in Benz spare parts at Suame Magazine, Kwame Peprah, speaking to the B&FT, expressed resentment over the incessant Nigerian penetration at Suame Magazine.
“I am an importer. I import my goods from the USA, but the Nigerians are killing our business. The rate at which the Nigerians penetrate the market is very bad. When they bring their goods, they do not offload them into any shop here. They put their goods in a car and bring them here. We don’t know how they get their goods into the country. They sell their wares at very cheap prices,” Mr. Peprah said.
Mr. Peprah further called on authorities to come to their aid as he claims the situation with their foreign counterparts is ‘killing’ their business since their goods are a bit expensive due to the numerous import duties and other taxes they are made to pay.
“We urge the authorities to do something so as to reduce the price of the goods in order to increase patronage. I go through the ports, pay huge sums of money as duty and they smuggle their way into the country with inferior goods. Our people usually buy from them because they sell at a very cheap price,” he said.
We are not harassing Nigeria traders
Dismissing allegations of harassment by some foreign traders at the market places, Mr. Lartey emphasised that the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade’s duty is to ensure compliance of the laws regarding retailing in the country.
According to him, only those who have failed to register with GIPC who have had their shops closed down.
“The perception out there is that we are targetting Nigerian companies; we are not allowing them to do business, but that is not the case. There are Nigerian companies that are legally registered with the GIPC and are doing business, nobody is disturbing them.
“The issue is, complying with the provisions of the law; and for those caught in the net, we are working to see how we can help them go through the process. Work is being done on that front. We have quite a number of Nigerians doing illegal work and their shops were closed down.”