The Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye says the law barring foreigners from engaging in retail business in markets needs some review to provide more clarity.
Section 27 of the GIPC Act 865 says 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.
But Mr. Vanderpuye said there was a “dilemma” in the question of the defining of stalls or stores or even what qualified as a market place.
“We have to [look at the law again],” he thus remarked on The Big Issue.
“Having sat through Parliament and also being a deputy minister in the Ministry overseeing the implementation of that law, I have had cause to have an argument with the task force that went and locked up shops before… I said how do you define this shop you have locked? Is it in the market place? Is it a stall?”
As a further example, he noted that “if I am a Nigerian and I am selling in a stall but not in a market place, how does the law still find me culpable?”
“I am not saying we should open up and let everybody in but if the Act has specified what cannot be done, we should look at those ones that do not fall under the Act, especially section 27, let them do their business in peace,” the MP added.
The comments follow Wednesday’s attack on some Nigerian traders by some traders Suame Magazine in the Ashanti Region with a view to enforcing the GIPC Act 865.
The Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG) subsequently accused the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) of terrorizing Nigerian traders in Ghana.
What the law says
Section 27 of the GIPC Act deals with the entry, admission, and protection of investment as well as the activities reserved for Ghanaians and Ghanaian owned enterprises.
Its first section says: A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in;
a. 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;
b. the operation of taxi or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of less than twenty-five vehicles;
c. the operation of a beauty salon or a barber shop;
d. the printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services;
e. the production of exercise books and other basic stationery;
f. the retail of finished pharmaceutical products;
g. the production, supply and retail of sachet water; and
h. all aspects of pool betting business and lotteries, except football pool.