Ghana To Lose $1.1m In Import Revenue – Report

haruna idrisuIt has been estimated that Ghana will lose $1.1 million between 2008 to 2022 in import revenue, if the country does not reverse the current Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA)   it has signed with the European Union (EU), a study on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has revealed.

The study dubbed “Analysis of socio-economic development and policy options under the IEPA regime with the EU,’’ commissioned by the General Agricultural Workers’  Union, was  conducted by JMK Consulting Limited in Accra  and  sponsored by   Action Aid Ghana (AAG).

“On the average, Ghana would lose about $88.575 million per annum between 2008 and 2022 in import revenue due to the liberalisation of  about 75 per cent of the country’s trade with the EU per the current schedule under the IEPA,’’ the study conducted in this year said.

Presenting the findings of the research at a forum in Accra at the weekend, a research officer of JMK Consulting Limited, Mr Osman Mensah said the EPA would have serious implications for smallholder agriculture and the manufacturing industry.

The signing of the EPA, he said would kill the smallholder agriculture and industry due to the liberalisation of the economy which would allow goods and services from the EU to enter Ghana tariff free.

He said the country currently could not adjust tariffs to protect vulnerable local industries such as the poultry, rice and tomatoes sub-sectors, and saying ‘’growth of the sectors has been sluggish under the regime of the IEPA.

“The EPA is likely to result in crowding out and eventually collapse the private sector, the manufacturing sector in Ghana which has over 95 per cent of its exports to the EU being primarily raw materials,’’ Mr Mensah stated.

He however, said the IEPA had sustained Ghana’s non-traditional export sector which would have suffered disruption had Ghana not initialed it.

Mr Mensah suggested that Ghana should develop a strong and vibrant export sector that was efficient, diversified and not just dependent on primary commodity exports, saying given Ghana’s low productive capacity the country was not likely to fully take advantage free markets access to the EU.

‘’Government must coordinate its investments more efficiently and effectively to facilitate increased productivity of local industries,’’ he stated.

The General Secretary of GAWU, Mr Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah impressed on government not to sign the EPA, saying the EPA would worsen the country’s economic woes instead of improving it.

‘’Ghana should not sign the EPA.  The country should work with the ECOWAS to renegotiate the terms of the full EPA as a block, to maximise the benefit of EU market access while minimising the cost of the EPA to the economy,’’ Mr Ofei-Nkansah stated.

He said GAWU would continue to dialogue with government on the EPA and would resist any attempt by government to sign the EPA.

Head of Programmes  and Policy  of AAG, Saani Yakubu said the study sought among other things, to examine  the impact of EPA on the manufacturing industry and smallholder agriculture the country. - Kingsley Asare

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