Chinese asked to partner indigenous businesses

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has prevailed on the Chinese to go into partnership with their Ghanaian counterparts to establish wholesale businesses in the country.

Mr Iddrisu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, made the call in Accra when the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gong Jianzhong, paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Accra.

Under the laws of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre(GIPC), foreigners are not permitted to do business in the retail sector.

Those who wish to do so are required to invest more than a million United States Dollars, a measure which is more of a deterrent for the foreigners to venture into.

In spite of the law, there are many foreign nationals, most of whom are from China and Nigeria hence crowding out the Ghanaian retailers because of the huge capital outlay they have at their disposal.

Last year, a swoop on the market by a joint task force made up of members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), National Security officials, GIPC officials among many others revealed some Ghanaians had fronted for the foreign nationals to enable them to enter the retail market.

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The complicated nature of the situation has posed a huge challenge for the authorities who continue to make frantic efforts to wipe out the foreigners from the retail market.

The government on the other hand also finds itself in a dilemma because of the huge support it was getting from the Chinese government to accelerate its development agenda.

But to find the way forward in the interest of peace, Mr Iddrisu asked all Chinese investors in the country to register their businesses with the GIPC as part of requirements to freely operate in the country.

He also urged them to regularise their stay with the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to avoid deportation for illegally residing in the country without the necessary permits.

“The government has no intention to harass Chinese nationals doing genuine business in the country,” he said, adding that “all that is required of them is to ensure that they follow the right procedures to regularise their stay to avoid confrontations with the law enforcement agencies”.

According to Mr Iddrisu, the laws of the land are clear and need to be enforced but noted that “we are aware of enormous contribution of many more Chinese nationals who have set up business and are doing well and helping promoting the growth of our economy”.

Mr Iddrisu said Ghanaians were genuine business people just as the Chinese and expressed the hope that collaboration would bring enormous benefits to them while ensuring peace.

He said his ministry would continue to work with the Chinese embassy to ensure that trade between the two countries was enhanced for the mutual benefit of their people.

Mr Iddrisu expressed his gratitude to the government of China for the US $3billion loan facility which he said would enhance the lives of Ghanaians when all the projects envisaged were completed.

He further requested a thorough investigation into the allegation that some Ghanaian traders were denied visas to do business in China, and said this would help deepen and promote the harmony and understanding that had seen the growth of bilateral relationships in a win-win situation.

He said just in many other countries, there was work underway to establish an exclusive market for Chinese businesses.

Mr Iddrisu said the nature of the market would be such that it would not infringe on the laws of the land but serve as an avenue for the Chinese to reach Ghanaians with their goods and services.

Mr Jianzhong reaffirmed the commitment of the Chinese government to deepen ties between the two countries.

“There is the need for the two countries to strengthen and enhance bilateral relationships that could benefit the two countries and we should not allow the cultural and language differences to be a stumbling block to our efforts,” he said. GB