Ghana to renogotiate trade terms with UK if……. -Ayorkor Botchwey

Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Foreign Affairs Minister designate (2)

Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Foreign Affairs Minister designate (2)

Ghana will renegotiate with the United Kingdom aspects of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), if that country leaves the European Union later this year, the Foreign Affairs Minister designate, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has said.

The EPA is a scheme to create a free trade area between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

Ghana has ascended to the EPA but West Africa is yet to ratify it as regional economic block with Nigeria yet to sign onto it, thus delaying the agreement.

The UK, in the other hand, is walking out of the European Union later this year after it voted to exit the union.

This means, should the UK leave the EU, protocols of the agreement will not cover that country.

Answering questions at her vetting in Accra yesterday, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the government would quickly start renegotiating trade agreements with the UK as an independent country of the EU.

Ghana, she said, has enjoyed a smooth relationship with the UK over the years and that renegotiating the agreement will not have much effect on the country.

On the ease of acquiring Ghanaian passport, the Anyaa-Sowutuom legislator said the new online application system would address the delays that are associated with process.

According to her, sometimes the delays are sometimes occasioned by clerical errors on the application forms as keyed in by the applicants.

In her view the passport office finds it difficult to proceed with issuance of passports to applicants when documents they send could not be authenticated, resulting in the delays.

The congestions at the passport office deepens the wounds of applicants, she said assuring that regions which do not have passports offices would be furnished with one to address the delays and reduce the queues.

Currently, the Eastern, Central, Upper East and Upper West regions, the regions without passport processing centers will be furnished with one to bring to an end the long travels in acquiring passports.

On the frustrations faced by Ghanaians abroad in renewing their passport while there, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said in cases where there are mistakes on the forms, it becomes difficult to contact the applicants and correct the mistakes in good time.

Responding to questions on the state of Ghanaian missions abroad, in terms of offices, Madam Ayorkor Botchway said the mission buildings were in bad shape and efforts would be made to rehabilitate them to a befitting status.

By Lawrence Markwei and Julius Yao Petetsi

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