Ghana defends $1m traders’ levy, knocks Nigeria for closing borders

Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo

Minister of Information in Ghana Kojo Nkrumah on Sunday said the Ghanaian government was right in imposing $1 million trade levy and other regulations on Nigerian traders in Ghana, signalling that Nigeria had equally issued executive orders preventing foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do.

Mr Nkrumah was reacting to a statement last week by the Nigerian Minister of Information Lai Mohammed condemning the recent actions of the Ghanaian government, including the harsh treatment of Nigerians in Ghana.

Nkrumah said the closure of Seme Krake borders since August 2019 by the Nigerian government had hurt neighbouring countries.

“The Federal Republic (Nigeria), on the other hand, is on record to have taken a number of steps in recent months, in pursuit of her national interests, which have gravely affected other countries in the region,” he said.

“These include the closure of Nigeria’s Seme Krake border from August 2019 to date and the issuance of executive orders by Nigeria’s Presidency preventing foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do, to mention a few.”

He also accused Nigerian traders in Ghana of gross violations of retail trade laws, including tax evasion, immigration offences and selling substandard products.

“The compliance exercises conducted in the selected markets revealed gross violations of retail trade laws and regulations by Ghanaians and foreigners, including Nigerians,” he said.

“These violations included tax evasion, immigration offences, trading in substandard products, violation of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre law, improper registration of firms, under-payment of business operating permits, falsification of documents, among others.”

Nkrumah also countered Mohammed’s comments that 825 Nigerians had been deported from Ghana between January 2018 to February 2019.

He explained that 700 Nigerians involved in fraud, prostitution and armed robbery were deported from Ghana.

Nkrumah faulted allegations of the seizure of Nigerian Mission property located at No. 10, Barnes road, Accra, noting that the land was acquired by Nigeria from a private citizen, Thomas Hardy, on October 23, 1959.

The minister explained that the commercial lease on the land expired 46 years ago without any evidence of renewal by the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana.

“The Government of Ghana was not involved in the transaction and had not seized the property in question,” he said.