myjoyonline.com | 8 December 2014
EPA will not benefit Ghana – Adwoa Safo
The Member of Parliament for Dome/Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo, has warned that Ghana risks losing its manufacturing sector if it goes ahead to sign the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).
She said the government’s eagerness to sign onto the EPA was in bad faith since the agreement as it stands now, would not benefit the country.
She has therefore, cautioned President John Mahama, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS, to exercise prudent discretion in order “not to lead the Ghanaian economy into another economic mess” because the country’s position would guide the final positions of other ECOWAS Member-States.
“It will not be economically prudent for Ghana to sign the EPA given the current economic hardships in the country where prices of commodities are on the increase, fuel prices keep escalating drastically, unstable power supply, bad state of roads, labour unrest among others. I strongly believe that the signing of the EPA would not benefit Ghana.
Obviously, the economic conditions directly affects the production capacity of Ghana in the manufacturing industry, hence, cannot take full advantage of the EU market.
On the other hand, the flourishing economic conditions and production capacity of EU countries in the long run, allows the EU to benefit while Ghana and other ECOWAS Member-States suffer if the agreement is signed”, she noted.
The legislator made this observation on the floor of Parliament recently when contributing to the debate on the 2015 Financial Policy and Budget Statement of the Government of Ghana.
The motion for the adoption of the 2015 Budget Statement was moved by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper on November 19, 2014.
The EPA is a preferential trade agreement that seeks to offer ECOWAS Member-States the opportunity to benefit and increase trade and exchange by agreeing to waive or reduce tariffs on goods to integrate the global market. Per the agreement, Ghana would be allowed to have 100% access to the EU market with its goods except for rice and sugar while EU countries will have 75% access to the Ghanaian market duty free and quota free.
But due to the huge disparity in terms of benefits, Ms. Safo has urged the country and the rest of the ECOWAS Member-States to hasten with caution and do a critical analysis of their strengths and weaknesses before signing on to the EPA.
She wondered why big countries like Nigeria and La Cote d’Ivoire have refused to sign on to the agreement and Ghana was eager to append its signature on the agreement.
“Comparatively, Nigeria is better and larger in terms of geographical coverage and national revenue generation base as well as its natural resource endowment capacity. Yet, it is very reluctant in signing on to the EPA. So, why Ghana?” she quizzed.