The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah has rejected claims that signing an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) will collapse indigenous businesses in the manufacturing sector.
According to him, Ghanaian manufacturers will rather have to adopt strategies to raise their standards and be competitive to export their products to the European Markets.
Speaking to Citi Business News, Dr. Spio-Garbrah challenged locally based manufacturers to improve the standards of their products to enable them export to the EU.
“Ghanaian producers will be entering the European markets at a preferential rate. So it is not the exporters that will suffer. The EPA also expects the other counterparts to open their markets over a period of time,” he said.
He stated that Ghana can take advantage of the pact to heavily penetrate the European markets with quality.
Even though government and the EU have stated categorically that the benefits of signing the EPAs outweighs the negatives, the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) as well as a number of civil society organizations have warned that Ghana risks losing its industrial production capacity, employment and entire development efforts should the country sign the EPA.
Cabinet last week approved for an interim Economic Partnership Agreement to be signed with the European Union before the October 1, 2016 deadline.
Dr. Yao Graham wades into EPA debate
Meanwhile the Coordinator of the Third World Network, Dr. Yao Graham has insisted that the agreement would be inimical to Ghana’s economic growth.
According Dr. Graham, government must consider the cost benefit nature of the agreement before Ghana signs the EPA.
He argued that the decision to sign onto the EPA will hurt small businesses and cripple Ghana’s industrial growth.
Speaking at the Graphic Business Stanbic Bank Breakfast meeting in Accra, Dr. Graham argued that the terms of the EPA are not beneficial for Ghana and other West African countries since it will lead some challenges, including loss of jobs among others.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana