The Majority Leader has backed law enforcement agencies to go all out and enforce the country’s law barring foreigners from engaging in retail trade.
Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu insists no treaty entered into by Ghana supersedes domestic laws.
“In its dealings with other government shall protect and promote the interest of Ghana…I have heard people saying that Ghana has ratified conventions that is true that the conventions cannot supplant our constitution. In the sub-region, the ECOWAS protocol provides for free movement of goods and services.
“When the goods arrive at any destination the laws of the country provides that retail business should be in the hands of citizens. It is so in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire so let nobody say that we have ratified ECOWAS protocol, we should allow citizens from other countries including the sub-region and the Chinese, Turkish and others to engage in retail trade business,” he said on the floor of Parliament Thursday.
Suame MP and Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu
Retail traders in the Ashanti Regional capital and even in Accra have accused foreigners, Nigerians especially, of engaging in retail trade, contrary to Section 27 of GIPC Act 865 which prohibits non-Ghanaians from engaging in retail trade in the jurisdiction.
Subsequent governments have, however, found it difficult to implement the law, causing the traders to go rogue on a seasonal basis.
Many, including foreign nationals, have argued the law is contrary to the ECOWAS provision of free movement of goods and persons across the sub-region.
The ECOWAS charter allows free trade among member countries.
Although the current government came close to stopping foreigners from engaging in retail trade in 2018, the Trade and Industry Ministry suspended the deadline it gave.
This angered the local traders with Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) who described it as a setback to what they have been fighting for.
Last month, shops belonging to Nigerian traders were shut down by Ghanaians, who vowed to evict the foreigners from the market
The Suame traders said their call is not to intimidate foreigners trading in the country but rather to encourage authorities to implement the statutory laws in the sector without fear or favour.
Sharing details of an inter-agency investigative team put together by the Trade’s Ministry, the Majority Leader said it was discovered that foreigners engaged in the retail trade had registered business to sell other items only to change to the sale of spare parts.
“Two prominent nationals of some foreign countries registered to deal in hospital equipment but they are using the same registration number and certificate to deal in spare parts. Who would accept that?” he quizzed.
According to him, when the Ghana Standard Board were called into the picture “it came to the fore that many of the spare parts and equipment that are buying sold by foreign national are substandard.”