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01.11.2008 Business & Finance

Effects of EPA Forum held in Kumasi


Mr Christopher Dapaah, Co-ordinating Director of Resource Link Foundation, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has said that Free Trade Agreements under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) was not the best option for developing countries like Ghana because of our fragile economies.

He noted that under that the EPA, small-scale producers in the agricultural sector and their livelihoods would be worsened as a result of poverty among most of the ACP countries and that trend would seriously have socio-economic repercussions on their economies.

Mr Dapaah who was speaking at a EPA Forum held in Kumasi, therefore appealed to Parliament not to ratify the agreement because of its negative impact on ACP countries.

The Forum under the theme “Ghana's Position Within the EPA's Negotiations, Its Impacts on Trade and Livelihood “ jointly organized by the Resource Foundation and Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition, both NGOS was attended by participants including Civil Society Organizations, traders, political parties representatives and others.

He said countries like Nigeria and Cape Verde had made their positions clear that “EPA as presently being recognized is a bad development tool for ACP countries” and urged government to do something about the agreements.

Mr Dapaah stated that Civil Society Organizations would continue to draw the attention of the negative effects of the EPA to create awareness among the people on the need to kick against it.

Mr Kennedy Oppong-Kyekyeku, Ashanti Regional Director of the Ministry of Trade, Industries, Private Sector Development and Presidents Special Initiatives, recalled a statement recently made by President J.A. Kufour at the ACP Summit in Accra, that the ACP and European Commission (EU) needed to take a second look at the EPA Accord.

He said according to the President, the partnership agreements between ACP and EU would have the potential to undermine regional integration efforts and split the ranks of ACP countries.

Mr Oppong-Kyekyeku said the situation whereby EU gives subsides to the production of agricultural produce has brought a lot of frustration to ACP countries because our goods could not compete with the goods of developed countries.

He said most ACP countries derived much revenue from import duties and that under the EPA tariffs on such commodities would be removed and this would affect foreign exchange earnings of such countries.

The Regional Director added that loss of revenue would also put pressure on governments to focus on indirect taxation of borrowing from external donors, which could increase the burden of the poor.

Mr Oppong Kyekyeku also said under EPA there would be situation of small-scale farmers and industrialists to be displace because currently most produce of the ACP countries such as tomato paste, poultry products and second clothing and others would flood the markets.

The participants appealed to Ghanaians to develop interest in patronizing made in Ghana goods to help develop the economy and also called on political Parties to give their views on Ghana's positions on the EPA to help government to take steps towards not signing the agreements.