The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has made some far-reaching proposals that would bring an end to the attacks on Nigerian traders doing business in Ghana.
During a ‘Legislative Diplomacy’ bilateral meeting with Ghanaian lawmakers/some top government officials as part of his ongoing visit to The Ghanian Government to resolve the crisis, the Speaker advocated for an amicable settlement of trade disputes through arbitration/fair judicial processes.
The Speaker also said he would be glad to champion a law to improve the bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and Ghana, noting that citizens of the two countries remain brothers and sisters.
He called on Ghanaian authorities to revisit the component of the law that requires a capital base of $1 million for businesses to start, saying as Africans, Ghana should encourage brotherliness.
“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.
“Secondly, we would encourage you to revisit the component of the law that requires a capital base of $1,000,000. We are all Africans, we all have towns and villages, and we know only too well that majority of our traders across the continent are petty traders.
The prospect of them 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.
One of the things we are all proud about and the common surname that we all bear is ‘ECOWAS’ and as you know, by virtue of being ECOWAS CEDEAO 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.
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.
Legislative diplomacy is akin to back-channel diplomacy, which in many cases, makes it more possible for countries to debate and find solutions to problems, without any country losing face publicly.
Speaking, the Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry Hon. Alan Kyerematen said there are many Ghanaians and Nigerians who are going about their lawful duties without difficulties.
“The incidence that has occurred where some shops were locked up must have risen out of situations where there were clear abuses of the application of the laws.
“I was happy that the Nigerian Speaker of the House of Representatives mentioned that if they are doing legitimate business, please allow them as brothers and sisters to continue to do so. I want to give you that assurance that that will be the case.
Arising from the meeting, which lasted into the night on Wednesday, a communique would be issued.