Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries are exempt from the Ghana Investment Promotion Act
The Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, Baba Kamara, on Wednesday called for a Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement between Nigeria and his country.
Mr. Kamara made the call during the Ghana Day celebration at the ongoing 2012 Lagos International Trade Fair organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The theme of the Fair is “Promoting Trade for Sustainable Economic Transformation.”
The Ghana High commissioner to Nigeria, who was represented by the Consular-General, Abdul Abubaka, said the agreement will provide a platform to discuss challenges that may arise in the implementation of the Ghana Investment Promotion Act on Retail Trading.
“Ghanaian Government action was aimed at ensuring that foreigners who engage in business in Ghana abide by the laws of the country.
“The action is not targeted at our brothers and sisters from Nigeria and in implementing the law, special concessions was made for ECOWAS citizens,” he said
The high commissioner said that the concessions were in recognition of ECOWAS Protocol on the right of residence and establishments. He said a bilateral trade and investment agreement would serve as vehicle for promoting trade and Investment between the two countries as well as serve as avenue to discuss such challenges in a cordial atmosphere.
Mr. Kamara said that in implementing the Act, ECOWAS citizens were not required to invest $300,000 or employ a minimum of 10 Ghanaians in their businesses.
“Ghana’s doors are always open to genuine businessmen who want to do business in Ghana within the laws of Ghana,” he said.
Mr. Kamara stressed the need for member states to obey the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme to increase trade among the member countries. He expressed regrets that the poor performance of the scheme had resulted in trade among ECOWAS members standing at 10 per cent while that of European Union members stood at 60 per cent.
“Some of the challenges undermining the ECOWAS scheme were prohibition lists, exorbitant transit fees among others,” he said.
The Director, Marketing and Public Relations, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Edward Ashong-Larkety, said that Ghana needed investors from Nigeria to help it develop its resources.
According to him, the investments are in energy, oil and gas, agriculture, infrastructure development, education and financial services among others. He said the Ghanaian government had also provided incentives ranging from tax rebate and holiday to repatriation of profits.
The Lagos Chamber President, Goodie Ibru, said that Ghana had brought in the highest number of exhibitors in the Lagos Trade fair.
He prayed for more sustainable business relationship between Nigeria and Ghana.