Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has advocated an amicable settlement of trade disputes between Nigerians and their host communities in Ghana through arbitration and fair judicial processes.
Gbajabimila made the call in a statement issued on Thursday after a ‘Legislative Diplomacy’ bilateral meeting with Ghanaian lawmakers and some top government officials as part of his ongoing visit to Ghana to resolve the crisis.
The Speaker also made some far-reaching proposals that would bring an end to the attacks on Nigerian traders doing business in Ghana.
Gbajabimila said he would be glad to champion a law to improve the bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and Ghana, saying 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 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.
“Thirdly, 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 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,” he said.
He encouraged Ghanaian authorities to explore the principles and the application of ECOWAS protocols which both countries are signatories to.
Gbajabimila said that it is important to strengthen legislative diplomacy and collaboration between both countries.