Some unidentified traders yesterday closed down more than 30 shops belonging to Nigerian businessmen in the Suame business enclave in Kumasi, alleging that the Nigerians engaged in retail trade in contravention of the law.
The traders, believed to be members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), are said to have claimed that the Nigerians were into retail trade, in contravention of the laws of Ghana.
But according to the Nigerians, they had fulfilled all the legal requirements before operating their businesses.
A seven-member police team that went to the area to invite the traders for questioning was chased away by some Ghanaian traders, numbering more than 70.
To avoid any confrontation, the armed policemen left the scene.
The Ashanti Regional Police Command has issued criminal summons for the traders.
Explaining the ordeal that his members had gone through to the Daily Graphic, Chief Kizito Odiora, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association (NUTA) in Kumasi, said early last Monday, members of GUTA in the area forcibly drove Nigerians trading in the area out of their shops and locked those shops.
He said when word went round that the Nigerians were being forced out of their shops, he instructed all the members not to react in any manner that would lead to violence.
He said as law-abiding foreigners, they reported the matter to the police and also informed the Nigerian High Commission in Accra about it.
Asked if members of his association had met all the requirements, Chief Odiora answered in the affirmative and explained that all of them paid Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Value Added taxes and paid the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions for their staff.
According to Chief Odiora, who is also a businessman dealing in upholstery fabrics, most of his members had already met the $300,000 minimum capital required for foreigners to engage in retail trade in Ghana, even though that requirement had been abolished by ECOWAS after some Nigerians were allegedly chased out of the country.
He indicated that when the ECOWAS team, together with Ghanaian trade officials, met them in Accra, they were told that as citizens of ECOWAS, they were not under any obligation to meet the requirement.
When contacted, the Ashanti Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), ASP Yusif Tanko, said the police would use lawful means to serve criminal summons on all those identified to be involved in the act.
Mr Tanko said those served would have to appear before the law court and answer charges that would be levelled against them.
Source: Daily Graphic
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