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Ghanaian MP Fights For GUTA in ECOWAS Parliament

A Ghanaian lawmaker representation in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Hon. Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah has urged the Ghanaian government to protect its retail traders by enforcing its laws on retail business in the country.

According to Appiah-Pinkrah, through petty trading that he has been able to rose to his current status and appreciate the difficulties the Ghanaian Retail business players are going through with foreigners taking over.

“It has made me who I am today, I would be honest to say we should protect Ghanaian petty traders”, he said this in an interview before attending ECOWAS Trade, Custom and Free Movement committee meeting on Monday 9th December 2019.

His comments comes in the wake of the brouhaha between members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and Nigerians traders, in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

GUTA members has been reacting and locking up foreigners mostly Nigeria national for violating the ECOWAS cross boundary trade rules.

They claimed the Nigerians have taken over their retail business and making living difficult for them
reacted against As a result, the GUTA members took the laws in their hands and randomly locked up shops and stores owned by Nigerians.

But Hon Appiah Pinkrah believed the issues could be mitigated if the Ghanaian government taken pragmatic action.

He pointed out that ECOWAS protocols are not there to be abuse and that the Ghanaians government must “sit up” to ensure that its laws are abided by and it should not take GUTA to enforce those laws.

“Government has the police, immigration and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, again Nigeria has closed its borders to check smuggling and protect their local rice farmers, we should not allow our laws to be flouted”.

Hon Kwabena Appiah Pinkrah

He gave his personal experience he had in Abuja, Nigeria, stating that a taxi cub driver in Abuja blatantly told him, their borders are not going to be opened anytime soon.

“I happened to be in Liberia for an ECOWAS Parliament meeting, I met the Ghanaians community they were sixty (60) Ghanaians in Monrovia they told me if you engage in a trade reserved for Liberians, the laws there would deal with you”.

The Ghanaian lawmaker also expressed concern about how the ninety (90) days stay in member states had been abused in Ghana.
He said many ECOWAS citizens over stay their 90 days period but failed or refused to apply for a Permanent stay to do business.

He contended that, just as other national are expected to obey the Nigerians laws, same must be done for the Ghana laws that should be obeyed.

“Free movement does not mean you can go and stay in another members state without abiding by the rules and regulations of that country, free movement presupposes that you understand the rules and govern other countries”.

Source: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Abuja

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