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CIBA calls for review, strong enforcement of Investment Act 478

 

Accra, April 5, GNA – The Council of Indigenous Business Association (CIBA) on Friday called for a review and strong enforcement of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) law, Act 478 of 1994.

     The Act reserves petty trading, hawking or selling from a kiosk and other small scale businesses for Ghanaians, but according to CIBA it is being flouted by foreigners who are allegedly aided by some Ghanaians.

      Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the end of an advocacy workshop, Mr John Kwame Nimo, Regional Executive Secretary of CIBA, said the infiltration into the  prohibited areas of trade was negatively affecting members and other Ghanaians engaged in petty trading.

    The workshop was organized by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) and Society for Managing Initiatives and Leadership Enhancement, Ghana for organizing the workshop.

     Mr Nimo said, “It is the wish of CIBA-Greater Accra Region to get GIPC to ensure that provisions relating to the areas reserved for Ghanaians under Section 19 (3) of the GIPC Act 478, 1994 were reviewed and enforced.

     “Section 19 (3) of the law states that in the case of trading enterprise involving only the purchasing and selling of goods which is either wholly or partly owned by a non-Ghanaian, there shall be an investment of foreign capital or its equivalence in goods worth at least 300,000.00 dollars by way of equity capital and the enterprise shall employ at least 10 Ghanaians.”

      He also proposed an upward adjustment of 1,000,000.00 dollars for the foreign capital investment and employment of at least 30 Ghanaians by the foreigners.

    It would be recalled that the Ghana News Agency, on  February 21, 2012, reported that an Inter Agency Task Force  set up to monitor activities of non-Ghanaians in the trading sector had been reconstituted and charged to ensure that GIPC Act 478 of 1994 was complied with by foreign nationals.

     The relevant provision of section 18 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, 1994, reserves retail trading in the marketplaces exclusively for indigenous Ghanaian operators.

     Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, said though Government recognised the positive economic impact of foreign direct investment, it had reserved small scale retail activity, petty trading, and hawking exclusively for Ghanaian nationals as a deliberate policy position.

     She stressed that the provision in the GIPC Act 1994 was to protect local retailers and to encourage foreign business operators to engage in large scale value added trading activities.

     Ms Tetteh said it was Government’s desire to attract more foreign direct investments but added that the investments needed to be the right type and kind that complied with the country’s laws.

    She stressed however that the Government primarily aimed at protecting and safeguarding the economic interests of the citizenry by helping them sustain small and informal business investments without facing any stiff opposition from foreign nationals.

    On how to deal with Ghanaians who fronted for such foreign nationals, Ms Tetteh expressed the hope the Ghana Union of Traders Association, which has members on the Task Force, would work effectively and efficiently to identify culprits.

    She advised non-Ghanaian traders to, as a matter of urgency, make the necessary arrangements to comply with the relevant provisions in the Act

    Ms Tetteh said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had now been incorporated in the reconstituted Task Force to enable them to deal adequately with the issue of foreign nationals.

   She said the Task Force would be chaired by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

    Other institutions making up the Task force included Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Police Service, GIPC, Social Security and National Insurance Trust and the Registrar General’s Department.

    Until recent times, non-Ghanaians had operated in local markets in violation of the country’s laws.

    Places they have been spotted operating include Circle-Tip-Toe lane, Odawna market area, Kantamanto, Makola, Tema Station, Abossey Okai Spare Parts markets, Accra Post Office, Zongo-Lane, Adabraka market and Malata.

    Others include UTC Shoes market, Fishing Net market, Agbogbloshie, Timber market, Tudu area, Achimota market, Nima, Odorkor and Mallam market, Kasoa and Weija markets, New Town market, Kotobabi, Pig Farm area and Teshie.

    Non-Ghanaian traders also operate  in Nungua, Labadi, Osu, Dome, Ashawo, Accra New Town/Malata and Lapaz markets.

    In the Ashanti Region, the illegal foreign traders are active in Obuasi Main Market , Suame, Adum, Kronom road, Asafo, Central, Ejura  markets.

     In the Western Region, they ply their trade in  Takoradi Market Circle whiles in the Northern Region, they operate in the Tamale Central Market, as well as the Bolgatanga and Bawku Central Markets in the Upper East Region..

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