The private sector in Ghana will not allow any government to implement the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) signed with the European Union (EU) in its current form, a senior business leader has declared.

If implemented, Nana Osei Bonsu, Chief Executive Officer of the Private Enterprises Federation (PEF) argued, the EPAs in its current form will stifle the growth of the country’s infant industries.

He made this remark while speaking on the theme: “Contemporary Challenges of a Free Market Economy, The Ghana Experience,” during the annual Ghana Manufacturers’ Business Summit.

Bonsu argued that although the reciprocal trade agreement was crafted on a quota-free, tariff-free basis, it will disadvantage African countries because they had nothing much to export to the European market.

“If you give me a market and I do not have anything to trade there it is of no benefit to me. So what we say is if you want to bring the agreement, assist us to develop the products that we can bring to your door, and also trade over there so that there is a match,” the private sector’s chief advocate urged.

He criticized the provisions of the agreement under which “they can ban our products anytime they want without arbitration; without recourse to us.”

This, according to him was a disincentive to young and budding investors and a potential killer of infant local industries.

Whiles the EU pledged a 300 million-dollar aid for Ghana over 15 years, under the agreement, PEF rather wants 600 million-dollar annual investments for five years, in a bid to transform the trade pact into one that will boost development for indigenous private businesses.

“And we will not allow any government to implement EPAs unless the partners transform it into a development agreement for the benefit of local industrial development,” Bonsu maintained.

The EPAs which Ghana signed in 2016 seeks to create 80 percent access to goods and services from Europe, duty-free and quota-free, while Ghana also gets the same duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market.

“Although implementation was to have started soon after Ghana’s ratification, the private sector has caused the government to delay the implementation until 2020,” Bonsu later explained to Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday. Enditem


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