Foreign-owned shops to be closed in Accra today

Information gathered by Class News indicates that all foreign-owned shops in Accra that are engaged in illegal retail trade will be closed down over their failure to acquire business operating documents.

The Presidential Committee on Retail Trade under the Ministry of Trade and Industry will begin the closure exercise from today, 13 August 2020 at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra.

The Committee’s actions follow notices served ahead of time to these foreigners to that effect.

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.

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) have frequently confronted the Nigerian trading community in Ghana against retail trading in the Ghanaian markets.

This has led to closure of shops, protests and destruction of property.

The Nigerian trading community 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.

Section 28(2) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 865, expressly outlines the conditions under which a person who is not a citizen can engage in trading activities. 

It provides 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. 

The Act further provides that “trading” includes the purchasing and selling of imported goods and services.

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.

However, Section 28(5) of the Act stipulates that the minimum foreign capital requirements to invest in Ghana, including for engaging in trading, do not apply to the foreign spouse of a citizen of Ghana to the extent that the foreign spouse is or has been married to a citizen of Ghana for a minimum period of five years continuously or holds an indefinite resident permit prior to registration of an enterprise, amongst others.

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