Business News of 2014-04-26

Open the EPA processes for citizens' input, ECOWAS advised

The Economic Justice Network has impressed upon the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to open up the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) processes for inputs from ECOWAS citizens to ensure meaningful dialogue on the pact.

“We welcome in particular the formation of a four-country technical committee to examine the technical concerns of member-countries, and urge the countries concerned to open the process up for genuine in-put by all ECOWAS citizens. And we are willing and ready to support the committee, in particular Ghana's role in the committee, with our skills, capacities and resources to enable development-friendly outcomes,” a statement issued by EJN in Accra said.

The EJN, according to the statement, welcomes the decision of the 44th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to postpone the final decision on the adoption of EPA between West Africa and the European Union for two months pending the resolution of technical problems raised by some member countries, notably Nigeria.

The group reiterate its position as expressed in the petition to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, on the eve of the Yamoussoukro meeting. It adds: “The ECOWAS-EPA on the table will undermine government revenue, eliminate jobs, destroy local production, jeopardise the industrial prospects of our countries, constrain South-South co-operation and undermine our sovereign capacity to make policy to enable our development.

“For us in Ghana, we are concerned that since the Yamoussoukro decision, different Ministers of Government of Ghana have given contradictory indications as to the intentions of Government with regard to the decision. Notably, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Minister for Trade and Industry and the Minister of State at the Presidency for Public-Private Sector have expressed different viewpoints as follow-up to that decision by Government. Nevertheless we are encouraged by the intention expressed by the Minister of Trade and Industry to conduct a thorough fiscal audit of the EPAs before Ghana's agreement to adopt it.

“We further urge the Minister and the entire Government to facilitate an open, inclusive and meaningful process of national consultation of all stake-holders in Ghana -- including interested parties such as the Trade Union Congress and its national unions, Association of Ghana Industries and other associations of domestic producers and businesses, Exporters and Importers, Christian Council, GUTA, the range of civil society organisations involved with the issues of the EPA, the media -- to enable them contribute their concerns in the discussions.”

Source: Public Agenda
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