The Nigerian Union of Traders in Ghana have told Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, that majority of their members cannot pay the $1 million registration fee mandated by the Ghanian government.
This position was made known when Gbajabiamila met with the leaders of the union and selected stakeholders at the Nigerian High Commission in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, on Wednesday, according to a statement by Lanre Lasisi, the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity.
The Speaker arrived in Ghana on Wednesday for a two-day official visit to his Ghanaian counterpart, Professor Mike Oquaye, for what he described as “legislative diplomacy”.
Speaking on behalf of the traders, Chukwuemeka Levi Nnaji, leader of the traders union, was quoted to have said that Nigerian traders had been subjected to hardship by the Ghanaian authorities since 2007.
Nnaji said many Nigerian traders could not afford the latest $1 million trade registration fees, noting that those that have not paid still had their shops under lock and key.
He explained that Nigerian traders had their businesses registered with appropriate agencies while they pay their taxes as and when due, yet they were still subjected to harsh treatment by the Ghanaian authorities.
He appealed to Gbajabiamila to ensure that the resolutions arrived at are implemented by the Ghanaian authorities.
The Ghanaian Speaker, while receiving his Nigerian counterpart, expressed confidence that an amicable resolution would be reached on the issues.
Responding, Gbajabiamila said he was hopeful that Nigeria and Ghana would arrive at mutually acceptable resolutions on the trade dispute.
He said: “Brothers will always have squabbles, healthy ones. National interests on both sides will always come to play. But it is not the misunderstanding that matters; it is how you resolve it that matters.”