Ghana’s Immigration Service is getting tough with illegal immigrants drawn to the country by the robust economic growth and its stability and has now set a deadline to start flushing them out. Most of the illegal immigrants are said to have entered the retail business and gone into illegal gold mining whilst others have targeted oil services, irking many locals who accuse them of stealing their jobs.
But while some citizens from the regional Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) grouping are reading xenophobia into the directive, Ghana authorities look resolute and will from June 30 start removing illegal immigrants involved in the retail trade. This is in line with the country’s investment regulations that restricts market retail trading to Ghanaians alone, officials have said.
A taskforce to implement the directive has already been set up by the Ministry of Trade and among those that would be worst hit are the Nigerians and Chinese who have set up shops in Accra’s Central Business District.
On May 16, GIS officials arrested two Chinese for engaging in commercial activities and said this “was in line with the ministry of Trade and Industry’s national exercise to get rid of foreigners in the country’s retail business”.
Act 478 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Law stipulates that “the sale of anything whatsoever in the market, petty trading, hawking or selling from a kiosk at any place is a wholly reserved activity for Ghanaians”.
A number of Chinese have also been busted over the past few weeks engaging in illegal mining in some parts of the country.