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OPINIONS & ANALYSIS - Discrimination of loyal residents of Ghana

Jun 28, 13 - Comments

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This is an open letter from Nico van Staalduinen, one of our Dutch Members and one of our Members who are married to Ghanaian nationals.

Discrimination Of Loyal Residents Of Ghana

I write to you on my behalf and the growing group of permanent foreign residents of Ghana.

Ghana is part of the global world, Ghanaians and Foreigners have travelled worldwide in the last 30 years and more frequently than in the previous millennium.

Some Ghanaians abroad get married to citizens of the countries they live(d) in. Most of these partners travel to Ghana because of their spouse and starts assisting their Ghanaian partner to remit monies to Ghana and in building their future homes; thus helping their families and the communities at large.

Ghanaians and their foreign partners abroad are remitting more money to Ghana than the official figures representing in these and other sectors: tourism, construction, etc. More and more partners of these groups of internationally mixed marriages decide to move to Ghana with their Ghanaian spouses and live here “happily ever after”.         

These couples, often not highly educated, manage to make a living in Ghana by creating small companies or simple jobs for Ghanaians. They are in no way comparable to others from the expatriate community who are often Diplomats, Directors of international companies, consultants, etc. working for salaries within International Standards.

These “local” foreigners mostly have a reasonable Ghanaian salary and pay Ghanaian tax, Ghanaian school fees for their children and all other Ghanaian costs. They are often correctly taxed and “easier targets” because of their color of skin, features or behavior than Ghanaians.    

The National Identification Card for foreigners was advertised and that draw my attention to the group of “Foreign “Ghanaians of which I am part of. I feel victimized of this ID program.  

The National Identification Authority forgets completely about Foreigners who are permanent residents in Ghana. I am not against the National Identification Card but I feel discriminated by the price that I have to pay for it. I have to pay US$ 120 for a card that Ghanaians obtain free of charge.                                       

Because of my 21-year marriage, I could decide to become a Ghanaian, which I would love to do, but my country of birth doesn’t allow dual citizen ship. Because of future pension rights I can’t afford to lose that, especially because I paid 32 years for it.   

The problem is not only the National Identification Card but at many other occasions:
-   a Ghanaian can go to a government hospital and registers for GHS 20.00 whilst a foreigner pays GHS 60.00
-   a Ghanaian can visit a national park and pay GHS 2.00 whilst a foreigner pay GHS 5.00
-   a Ghanaian can visit a museum and pays GHS3.00 whilst a foreigner pay GHS 10.00
-   a Ghanaian can be registered for his pension and Health Insurance at SSNIT whilst a foreigner cannot.
Because of that, I end up paying over US$250 monthly for my insurance and can’t build up a pension, and there are many more examples.

I am asking and pleading with you to separate this growing group of “Local Foreigners” from other Foreigners and allow them to be at the same level as other Ghanaians in the future. We are a special group of very Ghana minded and loving people who do not need to be punished for moving and living permanently in the country they came to love.

My recommendation for future amendments of the current law “discriminating” our group of residents in Ghana would be:
-   Residents, Ghanaians and other permanent residents    Price –A
-   Non residents, temporary residents                              Price- B   

I am convinced my “complaint” and suggestions will get serious attention because the problem will only grow in the future.

 

Nico van Staalduinen
Honorable Consul.rtd. (Ghana) BBA (Netherlands), FBI (Ghana)

Accra, June 2013


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Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in the Blog are those of the writer only and do not engage the responsibility of the website


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