Abossey Okai: 200 closed Nigerian shops to be opened today

All the 200-plus Nigerian shops that were forcefully closed by the Aboosey Kai Spare Parts Dealers Association in Accra, will be reopened by the end of day Thursday, 30 July 2020, Dr Joseph Obeng, the President of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) has told Class91.3FM’s Kofi Oppong Asamoah on 12Live, the mid-day news.

“They are going to be opened by the close of the day”, he said, adding: “The police will do that”.

“We have handed the keys to the police and they will make sure that the place is opened”, he said.

Ahead of the reopening of the shops, Dr Obeng said: “We had to come to the ground to talk to our people to understand … because if those who are actually peeved [are not talked to], we cannot just go for a meeting and the next morning we instruct them to do something”.

He, however, stressed that there was the need for the committee set up by the government to ensure compliance to Ghana’s retail laws, to do its jobs to avert another outburst from Ghanaian traders against their Nigerian counterparts.

The 20-member Retail Trade Committee is to ensure that foreigners in the retail space comply with Ghana’s laws.

Section 28 of the GIPC law says:

(1) A person who is not a citizen may participate in an enterprise specified in Section 27 if that person (a) in the case of a joint enterprise with a partner who is a citizen, invests a foreign capital of not less than $200,000 in cash or capital goods relevant to the investment or a combination of both by way of equity participation, and the partner, who is a citizen, does not have less than 10 per cent equity participation in the joint enterprise; or (b) where the enterprise is wholly owned by that person, invests a foreign capital of not less than $500,000 in cash or capital goods relevant to the investment or a combination of both by way of equity capital in the enterprise.

(2) A person who is not a citizen may engage in a trading enterprise if that person invests in the enterprise, not less than $1million in cash or goods and services relevant to the investments.

Members of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) have repetitively clashed with their Nigerian colleagues of the Nigeria Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG) over the retail space.

During the melee on Wednesday, the President of NUTAG, Mr Chwukuemeka Nnaji, said he is ready to die to protect his shop as well as the several others belonging to Nigerians from being closed by members of the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association.

Mr Nnaji told Class News in an interview that: “I think enough is enough, we are not going to take it anymore”.

“As the national President of [NUTAG], I’m commanding Nigerians to defend themselves from anybody, from any GUTA or any association. We are here legally. Travelling or migration is not a crime”, he said, adding: “And I’m saying it on top of my voice because there are a lot of millions of Ghanaians living in Nigeria, doing businesses and nobody is challenging them”.

“Why are they closing our shops every day?” he asked.

“They have no right to do that. I’m ready now to die because ‘all die is die’. I’m going to die now”, he fumed.

“Let them come and kill me. This must stop. I’ve been here for over 25 years and I’m ready now to face them. Where are they? Let them come”, he dared.

He continued: “Listen, if the government of Ghana decides that Nigerians should go, there’s a protocol of ECOWAS that says: ‘Do not halt any member citizens; if you want to deport him, deport him legally, honourably, let him go home and stay’. We are ready to go home. We come from a country. I think they are taking us for granted and that is the end of the matter now.

“If anybody comes here to kill me, I’m ready to die. They will not close this shop and I’m waiting for the commander to give instructions … I’m going to command the Nigerian shops to reopen and if anything happens to any Nigerian in Ghana, listen, I’m going to take it out from the executive of GUTA, I’m going to tackle it from the executives of the Abossey Okai Association; Mr Boateng and Akonta will be the number one culprits”, he threatened.

According to him, he pays his taxes, noting that he had to pay some GHS500,000 to the Ghanaian authorities to release his merchandise at some point in time.

“I’m tired of living in this country in this illegality … it should stop now”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association is calling on the government to implement the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865), to prevent foreigners in the country from engaging in retail trade.

The Co-Chairman of the Association, Nana Kwabena Peprah told journalists that: “We know how even the law allows a foreigner to apply in retail trade. They go through a process of registering at the GIPC for a certificate and where they can ply their trade. No trader in Ghana speaks against Melcom, Max Mart, and other retail outlets. It is simply because they are going through the rules that govern trading in Ghana. All that we are saying is that the GIPC law is implemented because the current situation is affecting us”.

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