NEW YORK– Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has met with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari in New York over recent media reports of disagreements between Ghanaian and Nigerian retailers in Ghana.

President Buhari in a tweet said that the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria is essential and ‘would not be taken for granted.’

According to Buhari, he has been assured by President Nana Akufo-Addo that Nigerian businesses are not being deliberately targeted in Ghana.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the ongoing 73rd United Nations General Assembly.

The plight of Nigerian traders in Ghana came up when I met with President @NAkufoAddo yesterday (Thursday). He assured me that Nigerians are not being deliberately targeted. The relationship between our countries is a very important one, and will not be taken for granted by either side Buhari tweeted.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has directed that retail shops closed by the task-force on retail trade be opened with immediate effect.

This comes after consultations with the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), the Nigerian High Commission and other relevant stakeholders.

According to a statement from the Ministry, the directive is to permit the various State Institutions and Agencies to carry out their lawful mandate of enforcing local laws and regulations, including those related to the operations of businesses in Ghana.

The statement assured that the government will continue to ensure that all businesses operating in the retail sector of Ghana are given the opportunity and support to regularize their operations and comply with laws and regulations in the country.

The directive comes after some Nigerians staged a demonstration in Abuja to protest the perceived intimidation of Nigerian businesses in Ghana.

The protesters claimed that Ghanaian authorities have so far closed some 400 shops belonging to Nigerians. They went ahead to present their petition to the ECOWAS office in Nigeria, asking for their intervention.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has denied allegations that they are harassing Nigerian business owners in Ghana.

Speaking on Eyewitness News however, President of GUTA, Joseph Kwaku Obeng, insisted Nigerian traders who were complying with directives regarding operation of foreign businesses in Ghana were being treated fairly.

He believes complaints of unfair treatment were coming from foreign traders who were flouting the rules on the conduct of foreign businesses in the country.

Those who are doing the right thing have been exempted. Even in Kumasi, so many people have been exempted.. Those who have closed their shops have done so because they are afraid they do not have VAT tax numbers. Nobody is chasing anybody. We have been very civil.

According to him, some Nigerians sought arbitration over similar concerns in the past but lost out to Ghana.

He thus urged ECOWAS to investigate the matter and find out whether indeed the prototcals that have been signed on free trade by member countries were being adhered to accordingly.