By Temitope Ponle
Abuja – A Ghanaian Member of Parliament, Mr Mahama Ayariga, has said citizens of ECOWAS member-states have the right to establish business enterprises in Ghana.
This was in response to the presentation of his Country Report at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja on Monday.
Ayariga recalled the agitation of Ghanaian traders over refusal of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) to ensure foreigners were prevented from engaging in retail trade reserved for local businessmen under GIPC law.
“A directive by the Ministry of Trade and Industry for all foreigners to stop retail trade by July 27, created tension in most major markets in the country with foreign traders appealing to government to allow them trade in the spirit of ECOWAS.
“Following this, the government engaged the leadership of foreign traders to submit documents regarding their immigration status, work permits and business registration to an inter-ministerial task force.
“Following spates of demonstrations and subsequent diplomatic shuttles, government was able to ensure that tensions abated and an impasse averted.
“An appeal for calm was heeded to and resumption of business as usual has taken root in the country.”
However, in his response to questions raised by members of parliament, the representative said the issue was being resolved.
“Unless you are an ECOWAS citizen, you also have the right to establish and the right to establish includes being able to set up your enterprise and carry out business in Ghana.
“The Government of Ghana is involved in diplomatic efforts to address that issue to ensure that all West Africans living in Ghana are able to participate in the economy of Ghana; so the matter is being resolved.”
He emphasised that citizens of a country were rendered vulnerable only if it had opted out of the provisions of the ECOWAS protocol to the rights of establishment.
“They will be given reciprocal treatment of not being allowed to participle at that level in the economies of other West African countries,” he said.
Sierra Leone, Senegal and Liberia also presented their country reports. (NAN)