The Coordinator of the Third World Network , Dr. Yao Graham has reiterated claims by some Ghanaians that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) would not benefit Ghana’s economic growth.
Speaking at the Graphic Business Stanbic Bank Breakfast meeting in Accra, Dr. Graham argued that the terms of the EPA are not beneficial for Ghana and other West African countries since it will lead some challenges, including loss of jobs among others.
“Overall the term of the EPA are not beneficial for Ghana or West Africa. The EPA will lead to a loss of jobs and other means of livelihood…In the manufacturing and other industrial sectors, the EPA will cost about 40,000 jobs in ten years.
“We also anticipate that there will be a collapse of domestic industry especially in the life manufacturing sector …It will also undermine ECOWAS economic integration and the wider process of intra Africa trade and lead to the loss of government revenue from trade duties.”
EPA saved Ghana €400 million
While Mr. Graham believes the decision to sign onto the EPA will hurt small businesses and cripple Ghana’s industrial growth, the Trade Ministry has defended the move, saying it saved the country a total of €400 million in export taxes to the European Union (EU).
Mr. Nyame Baafi believes the taxes and duties that would have been paid on Ghana’s exports to the EU was scrapped following the signing of the Agreement.
Since 2000, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) had been working with the EU Commission to sign a non-preferential bilateral trade treaty in which either side would offer both tariffs and concession, but in a regime that favours the ACP countries more.
ECOWAS member states including Ghana have been working since 2000 to sign the pact as a sub-region with the EU.
Trade volume between EU and Ghana as at 2013 was estimated at 11.2 billion euros from 1.9 billion euros in 2000.
Currently, the EU is Ghana’s biggest trading partner as trade volumes is further estimated to surge. Trade analysts and financial experts have expressed worry over government’s lack of clear direction on the matter as income from EU is crucial for Ghana’s investment and economic expansion.
Ghana has successfully signed onto the programme but is awaiting ratification from Parliament as stipulated in the country’s laws in relation to international agreements.
The country is expected to meet this requirement before October 1, 2016 or miss the full process needed to complete the process.