Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has made some far-reaching proposals that would bring an end to the attacks on Nigerian traders doing business in Ghana, asking his host to review the law on $1 million business capital.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke during a ‘Legislative Diplomacy’ bilateral meeting with Ghanaian lawmakers and some top government officials, as part of his on-going visit to Ghana to resolve the crisis, advocated an amicable settlement of trade disputes through arbitration and fair judicial processes.
But Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng, said until the law was reviewed, Nigerian traders in his country must obey it as their Ghanaian counterparts.
The speaker called on Ghanaian authorities to revisit the component of the law that required a capital base of $1 million for businesses to start, saying as Africans, Ghana should encourage brotherliness.
He said: “First, amicable settlement of trade disputes through arbitration and fair judicial processes. In this context, we do believe that while it is the sovereign right of the government of Ghana to pass and implement the GIPC Act, we would implore you to explore alternative and less aggressive options of engaging, sanctioning and relating with our traders and business people who operate in your country, pay taxes and contribute to the development of both our nations.
‘Review N1m business capital’
“Second, we would encourage you to revisit the component of the law that requires a capital base of $1 million.
The prospect of our traders being able to raise a capital base of $1,000,000 before they can trade in goods that may be worth less than $1,000, clearly is a major challenge. Third, one of the things we are all proud about and the common surname that we all bear is ‘ECOWAS’.
“As you know, by virtue of being ECOWAS countries, our nations and our citizens should be able to live, work and thrive in any of our nations without any form of hindrance or discrimination. It is in this light we would encourage that we explore how the principles and the application of ECOWAS protocols – which we are both signatories to – may perhaps conflict with the application of the GIPC Act, especially vis-à-vis the recent adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, by African nations; and also the movement towards a single currency in the West African sub-region.
“Fourth, is the importance of strengthening legislative diplomacy and collaboration. Legislative diplomacy is a tool that has been used across the world – both in developing and developed nations – to negotiate, to arbitrate and to find peaceful resolution to disputes between nations.