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31.05.2004 Business & Finance

GPRS is not a good basis for Trade Policy development

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Accra, May 31, GNA - The use of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) as basis for drafting a national Trade and Industry Policy leaves much to be desired because it is a medium term programme, Mr Cletus Kosiba, Director of Policy and communication of the Association of Ghana Industries on Monday said.

He said: "There is a gap in the current draft of the Trade and Industry Policy besides using the GPRS as a basis which is not good enough, therefore, such a policy will not comprehensively address the development needs and goals of the country.

"Government should consider the enactment of a comprehensive trade legislation incorporating rules and principles and standards for the taking of anti-dumping and countervailing actions in domestic courts against foreign producers, ..." Mr kosiba said.

He was speaking at a day's lecture as part of the activities earmarked for the up-coming 11th session of the United Nation Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Mr Kosiba said there was need to develop the policy based on a long-term policy, at least a ten-year programme, which according to him is the norm elsewhere in order to make the policy more sustainable and comprehensive.

On liberalization vis-=E0-vis protection for local industries, the AGI Director said the policy seemed to be killing local initiatives mainly because the country had failed to address the problems of supply shortages.

Mr Kosiba said, "There is the need to put in measures that will ensure that the supply shortage that will be created as a result of the liberalization are offset in order not to leave the domestic infant industries to die.

"The benefit of free trade will only begin to flow where true competition has been introduced so as to make it possible to compete effectively with industries in the industrialized countries," he said. Mr Kosiba said the arbitrary use of anti-dumping and countervailing duty actions against developing countries' exports must give way to a more just and legitimate basis of actions within the World Trade Organisation.

Mr Kwasi Abeasi, Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), in a paper read for him on the "Investment Opportunities in Ghana", recounted measures such as the current macro economic stability, low level of corruption and prudent management of windfalls as right for businesses to thrive, especially the private sector. He said identifying the opportunities alone for business was not enough, but in addition, the country must have entrepreneurs who would wish and capable of investing in such opportunities.

Mr Kwasi Abeasi: "What we have realized over the years is the absence of a critical mass of local entrepreneurs".

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