The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has responded to suggestions that he called Ghanaian traders opportunists when he addressed Nigeria’s Parliament on July 7.
“I was talking about others trying to take an opportunity of some weaknesses in our system,” Mr. Bagbin said during a meeting with representatives from the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) on Tuesday.
“How can I go to Nigeria to serve Ghana and attack them before Nigerians and call my own people opportunists? Where is this coming from?”
“I will never go and sell Ghana for a pittance. If I wanted money, by this time I would have been one of the richest in Ghana,” Mr. Bagbin said.
On the floor of Nigeria’s Parliament, he had cautioned that Ghana and Nigeria “must not fail to prevent opportunists from taking undue advantage of loopholes in our systems that may jeopardise the economic countries of our respective countries.”
President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng speaking at the meeting first apologized for their actions before calling on Parliament to do more to protect the interest of Ghanaian traders.
In that same address, Mr. Bagbin had said a joint committee of eminent persons from Ghana and Nigeria’s Legislatures had recommended the reconsideration of the $1 million minimum capital for Nigerian traders operating in Ghana.
This would have been part of the Ghana-Nigeria Friendship Act being worked on to ensure amicable business interests between the people of both countries.
This also prompted GUTA to say it will fiercely resist any attempt by the government to amend the GIPC law.
The President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng said this proposal would put Ghanaians at a disadvantage.
The enforcement of the law has been a point of contention for GUTA which has called for stricter enforcement of the law.
Its members have, on several occasions, locked up shops of foreign retailers, including Nigerians, and driven them out of markets.
The law says a person who is not a citizen or an enterprise that 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.