The Council for Indigenous Business Association (CIBA) has called for an immediate review and effective 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.
Mr John Kwame Nimo, Regional Executive Secretary of CIBA, at a workshop in Accra revealed that infiltration into the prohibited areas of trade is 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.
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 by way of equity capital and the enterprise shall employ at least 10 Ghanaians.”
He also proposed an upward adjustment to $1,000,000.00 for the foreign capital investment and employment of at least 30 Ghanaians by the foreigners.
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.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, said although the 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 however stressed 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.