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Wednesday, 07 March 2012

EPA issue: Third option 'better, superior and beneficial to Ghana'

Last week, CTA Brussels reported on the declarations of the Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms. Hannah Tetteh, on an ECOWAS platform for a full EPA. She noted that a wider discussion on the EPA  issue was needed and stated that while after signing the full EPA they would gain in some areas and lose in others,  they “need to measure the gains against the losses and decide on what is best for the nation”. This week, the same online newspaper which reported on the issue, Myjoyonline, published a letter submitted by Sylvester W. Bagooro, from the Political Economy Unit of Third World Network-Africa, which is an independent non-profit coalition of organisations and individuals engaged in advocacy on issues related to development, environment and North-South affairs.  Mr Bagooro says that her position ignores “a third option, which is better, superior and beneficial to Ghana and which ECOWAS has committed to”.
Speaking of the third option, Sylvester W. Bagooro says: “This option is a regional mechanism in the form of a solidarity fund to compensate Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Cape Verde on export losses in case regional consensus on EPA is not reached by 1st January 2014. This decision was taken at the most recent West African Ministerial Monitoring Committee (MMC) meeting held in Accra, Ghana, in November 2011, and of course hosted by no other person but the Hon. Hannah Tetteh herself.”
In his view, “this option, helps Ghana avoid the disruption of exports as well as all the damaging clauses in the interim EPA with its far-reaching effects on the development of Ghana and the regional integration process within ECOWAS. The issue of the exporters is genuine and a real concern. But that has to be put in the broader interest of other producers and the country as a whole. Apart from those who export to the EU market all other local producers whose market is domestic and the ECOWAS region will have a very serious challenge with the influx of EU goods.”
Having made several arguments in support of his statements, he highlights: “Minister should take the lead in reminding her colleague ministers in the Region about the idea of the regional solidarity fund and its operationalization. Most stakeholders in the EPA debate will be happy to work with the Hon. Minister as the Ministry provides leadership in the operationalisation of the Fund. This will spare Ghana the damaging effects of the EPA and also safeguard the regional integration agenda. In the 21st century there are two options: ECOWAS to integrate and survive or perish if the integration process is abandoned."

Source: Myjoyonline

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