The Minister of Trade and Industry in Ghana has directed immediate opening of all shops and outlets owned by Nigerians and other foreign nationals that were closed recently.
According to a statement by the ministry in Accra, the directive followed extensive consultation it had with National Executives of Ghana Union of Traders Association and the Nigerian High Commission in Accra under the leadership of High Commissioner Michael Abikoye.
The minster assured the international community that the closure of the shops was not targeted at Nigerians or any foreign nationals.
“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,” the statement by the ministry made available by the Nigerian High Commission said.
Recall that no fewer than 400 shops owned by Nigerians were recently closed by the Ghanaian authorities, fuelling speculations that the action was targeted at Nigerians resident in that country.
Nigerian traders last week stormed the ECOWAS Commission secretariat in Abuja to protest what they described as unfair discrimination.
A petition written to ECOWAS Chairman who doubles as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and distributed to journalists reads part: “Save Our Soul (SOS)’s call. The Urgency of this protest is to inform you of the state of fear, uncertainty and insecurity that Nigerian traders are currently subjected to in the hands of the government and people of Ghana in different cities under the coordination of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“You are very much aware that we wrote you, raised alarm and reported to the commission several times, of the discriminatory and unfair treatment meted on Nigerian traders and Nigerian-owned small businesses in Ghana.
“The Ghana Ministry of Trade and Industry issued a public notice and gave an ultimatum that all Non-Ghanaians should move out of markets on the 27th July 2018.
“In August, 2018, the Ministry, in a joint operation with Ghana Union of Traders Association, established a task force with specific mandate to clamp down on Nigerian traders.
“This eventually resulted in the closure of over 400 Nigerian traders’ shops and lawfully established businesses in Kumasi, Ashanti region of Ghana.
“Our members are shut out of their business premises in pursuance of the eviction order dated July 27, 2018 and demanding that we must have one million dollars as minimum foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana.”