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Thousands of industrial jobs for the chop if Ghana signs EPA | 26 July 2016

Thousands of industrial jobs for the chop if Ghana signs EPA

by Abu Mubarik

The Coordinator of the Third World Network, Dr Yao Graham, has warned that 40,000 jobs could be lost if Ghana signs the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in its current form.

The EPA is an economic trade deal between the Economic Community of the West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU).

The agreement enjoins member states to open up 70 percent of their markets to European goods over a period, prompting fears nascent companies may collapse since most European goods are of high quality and a lot cheaper than local goods.

ECOWAS countries will, in turn, have one hundred percent access to the European Market except for rice and sugar

Speaking at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra on Tuesday, Dr Graham said the job losses would affect nascent industries.

“Overall the term of the EPA are not beneficial for Ghana or West Africa. The EPA will lead to a loss of jobs and other means of livelihood

"In the manufacturing and other industrial sectors, the EPA will cost about 40,000 jobs in ten years.

“We also anticipate that there will be a collapse of domestic industry especially in the life manufacturing sector.

"It will also undermine ECOWAS economic integration and the wider process of intra Africa trade and lead to the loss of government revenue from trade duties,” Dr Graham said.

Also, Dr Graham said a study by the Network reveals that Ghana will lose $126 million in import tariffs.

The figure corroborates a study by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in which it was estimated that Ghana could lose tariff revenue to the tune of $150 million.

Dr Graham further noted that the agreements must fit into Ghana’s development agenda.

"One key thing about trade agreements is that they must fit coherently into a country’s development agenda," he said, admitting that they always lowered and gained in such deals.

The minister of trade Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah over the weekend warned of market instability if the EPA is signed, urging industries to be innovative.

"As the EPA also requires the ECOWAS market to open their markets over a period of time, it is the Ghanaian manufactures not exporters, who if they are not competitive, may face challenges from European imports which may be cheaper better quality and more attractive to the consumers,” said Dr Spio Garbrah.

ECOWAS countries have up to October 1, 2016, to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement.