• Monday, June 24, 2024
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‘$1m business registration, other conditionalities too much for Nigerian traders in Ghana’

‘$1m business registration, other conditionalities too much for Nigerian traders in Ghana’

President of the Association of Nigerian Traders in Ghana, Chukwuemeka Nnaji, says majority of Nigerian traders in Ghana cannot afford the $1 million and other conditionalities that small businesses are being asked to fulfil to continue doing business in the West African country.

As a result, the Nigerian traders have asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to engage the Ghanaian authorities leveraging the ECOWAS protocol.

Nnaji, who spoke on a radio programme, Political Platform, on RayPower FM (100.5) on Tuesday morning, said if this diplomatic engagement fails to yield the desired result, the traders would be willing and ready to return to Nigeria.

He insisted that the conditionalities put forward by the Ghanaian government were above the capacity of most Nigerian small businesses operating in that country.

According to Nnaji, the conditionalities include payment of $1 million or its equivalent in share equity, employment of at least 25 Ghanaians, and not operating in areas where Ghanaians have their businesses.

“These are too much for us to fulfil. Majority of Nigerian traders in Ghana cannot afford $1 million,” he said on the programme monitored by BusinessDay in Lagos.

He lamented that the registration charge was raised from $300,000 to $1 million, adding, “We have raised the ECOWAS protocol with the Ghanaian authorities, telling them that we’re West African citizens and should not be treated like other foreigners, but they have insisted that in spite of the ECOWAS protocol, their law is king.”

Nnaji, who painted a pathetic picture of Nigerian traders in Ghana, said their shops and business premises are being locked up despite having business permits.

On what he thinks the government back home can do, he said, “We want the Nigerian government to engage the Ghanaian authorities on the basis of the ECOWAS protocol. But if this fails, we plead with Ghanaian government to give us some time to park our loads and go back home.”

The ECOWAS protocol agreed to by the member states in 1979, which are in phases, stipulates the right of ECOWAS citizens to enter, reside and establish economic activities in the territory of other member states.

The first phase deals with the right of visa-free entry; phase two deals with the right of residency, and phase three concerns the right of establishment in another member state.

The first phase has been fully implemented. The second phase, the right of residency, has also been implemented, given that citizens had obtained an ECOWAS residence card or permit in fellow member state. The third phase, the right of establishment, is still under implementation in most member states.