GIPC yet to consider review of Ghana’s trade laws, says Yofi Grant

Nigeria’s Speaker of Parliament had suggested that Ghana reconsider current legislation that imposes huge surcharges on foreigners in retail

The chief executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant, says GIPC laws may be reviewed not because of pressure from Nigeria but to reap more investment benefit.

In an effort to resolve the impasse between Nigerian and Ghanaian traders, Nigerian officials have asked the government to consider a review of the GIPC laws to soften trade regulations.

But speaking on “Asaase Business AM”, Grant said his agency is yet to consider a review of Ghanaian trade law.

“We will not just consider [reviewing] the GIPC laws because of the country [Nigeria]: we will consider it because of Ghana and whatever reforms we do must inure to the benefit of Ghana and make Ghana an attractive and safe place to invest in, but also not compromise our sovereignty in any way,” he said.

“We don’t have a problem with Nigeria: we have a problem that captures foreigners in our markets in a certain way. Many countries do things to secure their sovereignty and their markets, just like how Nigeria also locked their borders for a while and remain locked.

“… and just like how they’ve brought out a prohibition list of 41 goods that you cannot bring to Nigeria. So [that is] their right and they’ve done that. In our right, we’re also protecting a certain part of our market.”

Ghana did no wrong

Ghanaian traders have been agitating for the outright banning of foreigners from participation in retail. They argue that the law which established the GIPC does not permit foreigners to operate in the retail market.

In August, the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives led a delegation to the country on a two-day fact-finding mission on challenges to the trade relations between Ghana and Nigeria.

The delegation concluded, however, that Ghana had done no wrong against Nigerians.

Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, declared: “The issue at hand is basically a misconception and misinformation.” He and other members of the delegation had come to understand this during the visit, he said.

Legislative review

In a statement to President Akufo-Addo, Speaker Gbajabiamila said he would suggest to the leaders of Ghana’s Parliament that they reconsider current legislation, which imposes huge surcharges on foreigners who wish to trade in Ghana.

“We have appealed to Parliament that if it is possible at all – and it is an appeal – if it is possible at all to please look again at the issues as far as the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act is concerned, then they should please do so.”

Joseph Appiah-Dolphyne

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