Jumat, 06 Juli 2012


Story: Zainabu Issah
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh, has said the exercise being conducted by the inter-agency task force is not aimed at deporting or confiscating items belonging to foreigners but to ensure that foreigners comply with the laws of the country.

The task force was set up by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to monitor the activities of non-Ghanaians in the trading sector and ensure that areas reserved for Ghanaians under the GIPC act were complied with.

The exercise, which started on July 3, 2012, saw more than 20 retail shops in and around the central business district of Accra being closed down and served with notices for failing to comply with the laws.
She said the reason for the exercise was that there had been a number of clashes, arguments and engagements between some ECOWAS citizens and Ghanaian businesses, especially Nigerians.

That, Ms Tetteh said, had resulted in a number of Ghanaian traders calling on the government to ensure that foreigners who were doing business in the country did so legally.

She confirmed that so far no citizen of an ECOWAS country had been affected by the exercise.

However, a one-month grace period for sensitisation had been given to the ECOWAS citizens for them to be aware of the laws, after which they would not be allowed to operate in the designated market centres reserved for Ghanaians.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the minister recalled that ECOWAS, after 2000, passed a protocol on the Right to Establish, which meant that ECOWAS citizens could establish businesses in a member state but had to fulfill the same legal obligations as a citizen in establishing those businesses.

She explained that in the context of the GIPC Act, ECOWAS citizens could establish businesses in Ghana and enter into any trading activity, adding that in order for them to be legally compliant, those businesses must be registered with the Register-Generals Department, be it enterprises, limited liability companies, small and medium-scale enterprises, among others.

Additionally, the minister said ECOWAS countries were not required to meet the US$300,000 capital requirement and employ 10 Ghanaians but required to register their businesses with the GIPC, pay the Value Added Tax (VAT), must get residence permit, among others.

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