Ghana closes foreign-owned shops to protect local businesses from competition

GHANA – The Government of Ghana has ordered the closure of all foreign- shops that are operating in the country without business operating documents in order to protect local business from stiff competition.

According to a report by Ghana Web the Presidential Committee on Retail Trade under the Ministry of Trade and Industry will begin the closure exercise at the country’s capital, Accra before moving to other cities and townships in the country.

The Committee is expected to move to Opera Square, Zongo Lane, Kantamanto, UTC and Kumasi to fish out foreigners involved in retail trade in the country without the necessary documents, Ghana web reported.

In recent times, there have been several encounters between Ghanaian traders and their foreign counterparts, especially Nigerians, over the involvement of the latter in retail business in Ghanaian markets.

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has frequently confronted the Nigerian trading community in Ghana against retail trading in the Ghanaian markets.

The Nigerian trading community which has been the target of mass protests by Ghanaian traders has time without number argued that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols allow free movement of goods and people across West Africa.

However, the ECOWAS protocols give foreigners space to transact business for only 90 days after which proprietors are required to obtain necessary licenses and permits for their establishments.

Ghana’s laws stipulate that a person who is not a citizen may engage in a trading enterprise if that person invests in the enterprise, not less than US$1 million in cash or goods and services relevant to the investments.

A further condition imposed on foreign enterprises that intend to engage in trading by Section 28(4) is that such an enterprise must employ, at least, 20 skilled Ghanaians.

Foreigners married to Ghanaians are however exempted from this requirement provided they have been married to a citizen of Ghana for a minimum period of five years continuously.

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