General News of 2014-03-31

Ghana must say no to EPAs – Christian Council of Ghana

At the just ended 44th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of Heads of State and Government in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, it became clear that, had it not been the technical issues raised by Nigeria, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) would have been signed.

However, it was relieving when the meeting decided to ask the chief negotiators to address the issues raised by Nigeria and report back within two months.

The Council is of the view that, the EPAs in its current form is not in the best interest of Ghana and it will worsen our economic challenges if signed. The EPAs seeks to liberalize 75% of all imports of goods into our country from the European Union. Already, we are suffering from the “dumping of foreign goods” at a cheaper price, making it difficult for the local industries to be productive and competitive. This will further destroy government efforts at enhancing local production and entrepreneurship, and will further lead to huge revenue loss.

It will also take away the policy space that is necessary for government to direct foreign investors to areas critical for national development. Already, liberalization has led to uneven competition as the EU unwillingness to abolish agricultural subsidies had led to the demise of many Ghanaian agricultural programs. In addition to that, most local goods produced in the country do not have the capacity to compete with that of the goods from the EU markets which are mostly cheap and somewhat subsidized. This will further cripple local initiatives and further worsen the unemployment and poverty situation in the country simply because local entrepreneurs will not be able to compete with EU entrepreneurs. The Council is worried that the government has not done enough public education on the impact of EPAs on our economy since negotiations started in 2007. This, we think is unfortunate.

It is important to follow the Nigerian example, which before the ECOWAS meeting held broad consultations with key stakeholders and did fiscal assessment of the effects of the current ECOWAS EPAs on its economy.

The Minister of Trade and Industries, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu is reported to have said that Ghana will hold consultations on the EPAs. In welcoming this initiative, we ask that it should be done together with fiscal assessment as soon as possible before the two months deadline.

The interest of our economy and the people of this country must be protected and we must not enter into any agreement that will jeopardise our economic fortunes.

Finally, we admonish everyone with Proverbs 11:14 which reads; “ For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers”

Signed:

Rev Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong

General Secretary

Source: Christian Council of Ghana
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