Ghana is to embark on a stakeholders’ forum on the likely losses the country will suffer, before reaching a decision on the pact with the European Union in May this year.
According to Trade and Industry Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, government will not rush into making a decision yet until the full fiscal impact assessment on the EPA is done .
Mr. Iddrisu was speaking to Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng on the sidelines of ongoing 44th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) are international agreements that the European Union has concluded with third countries with the aim of setting up an all-embracing framework to conduct bilateral relations.
These agreements normally provide for the progressive liberalisation of trade to various degrees including Free Trade Area, Customs Union among others.
But Mr. Iddrisu admits to likely losses in revenue, should Ghana sign the pact, which will also require the country to make some adjustments to its economy.
“What we need to do as a country within the next two months is to engage stakeholders to appreciate what the EPA means. It naturally with comes with some economic adjustment cause to the country therefore, we need to conduct a fiscal impact assessment in agreeing onto a regional ECOWAS treaty with the European Union”.
He said the scientific impact assessment should be able to provide data regarding; “what will be its implication on our fiscal situations in terms of revenue losses; what will be its ramifications for industry; what will be its ramifications for tax revenues in terms of import revenues against even what we can do at the level of exports”.
“For instance Nigeria gives a figure of $1.1trillion [loss in revenue], we also as a country should be able to give a definite figure or a reliable assumption [of] how much is it that we will lose when we sign onto the pact”.
ECOWAS Heads of States have the next two months to decide whether or not they will sign the full pact with the EU.
The leaders were supposed to reach a decision on the matter on Saturday, March 29, 2014, but concerns raised by Nigeria and some member countries have forced ECOWAS to push the signing further, for more consultation.