Amid the issues being encountered by some Nigerian retailers in Ghanaian markets, the Director of Business Operations of Dalex Finance, Joe Jackson says fellow citizens from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) deserve some special treatment in Ghana.
He attributed the current tensions surrounding Nigerians in the market place to xenophobia and a fear of competition from Ghanaian traders.
“The [Ghanaian] traders do not want competition…All they want to do is to get rid of competition,” Mr. Jackson said on The Big Issue.
“Where is that spirit of ECOWAS? And can we apply the same rules for ECOWAS citizens as we do for the rest of the world? I don’t think so. I think the way we are treating the Nigerian traders here is shabby.”
Mr. Jackson, who used to run a software company in Nigeria, said retail traders should not be held to the same standards as larger foreign retail chains.
“Are we applying blanket rules that we made to prevent huge retail chains from taking over businesses? Are we applying the same rules for the big retail chains as we are applying for the same retailers? Shouldn’t there be a distinction between ECOWAS citizens and the rest of the world?”
According to Section 27 (1) of the GIPC Act, a person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place.
The most recent attempts at the enforcement of this law sparked confusion in Suame Magazine in Kumasi leading to the shops of some Nigerian traders being ransacked amid threats of further violence.
Police in the Ashanti Region had assured Nigerian traders at Suame Magazine that it was safe for them to return.
But the recent tensions only surfaced after concerns of an anti-Nigeria sentiment in Ghana because of the involvement of some of its nationals in high profile crimes in Ghana.