General News of Wed, 4 Jan 201716
Tread cautiously – IMANI to Akufo-Addo
The incoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) government must act with circumspection regarding calls by groups for the abrogation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Ghana and European Union (EU), Franklin Cudjoe, the president of policy think tank IMANI Ghana, has said.
According to him, it would be suicidal for the NPP, which prides itself on private sector and market-oriented policies, to be swayed by “populist advice”.
The Government of Ghana in August 2016 signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU. This was after the Economic Community of West African States delayed its decision to sign the EPA in its current form. The European Union gave West African states a deadline of November 2016 to sign the agreement or pay duties on exports to the European market.
Signing of the agreement has granted exporters in Europe duty-free access to African markets, except for rice and sugar.
Some groups were of the view that this agreement would collapse indigenous companies, therefore should be reviewed.
For instance, Mr Kingsley Offei-Nkansah, Deputy-General Secretary of the General Agriculture Workers' Union (GAWU), at a three-day regional workshop on trade and security in West Africa immediately after the agreement was signed, said: "It (EPA) also means the dumping of cheap products, especially, agricultural products that are extremely subsidised, on our markets and destroying the livelihood of majority of the population.”
But Mr Cudjoe has warned the incoming government to be cautious in dealing with this issue.
He wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday January 4: “The incoming NPP administration should be careful listening to groups suggesting abrogation or review of the already ratified Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the EU.
“The Private Enterprise Foundation should provide sound economic arguments rather than resort to populist approaches to evidence. It will be suicidal for the NPP that boasts of private sector and market-oriented policies to be swayed by populist advice.”