Professor Joseph Teye, Director of Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana has said Ghana needs holistic migration policy that will help maximise the benefits of migration and minimise the negative and risk factors.
He said as at 2015 Ghana’s remittance savings stood at about $4.9 billion and that declined a little bit of about $3.5 billion recently, and emphasised the need to look at how to leverage the benefits of remittances for development.
He said the migration policy stated that there should be a Migration commission that would advise on policy implementation and they had started work with the setting up of the Commission.
“The Ministry of The Interior has done well by forming an Inter-Ministerial working group and we started our work about a month ago,” he added.
Prof Teye said this on the side-line of the just-ended second multi-stakeholders’ workshop to promote intra-regional mobility within the ECOWAS region – by enhancing the capacity of participants to address the obstacles to the full implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol in Ghana and Sierra Leone.
It is also to provide a platform for participants from Ghana and Serra Leonne to discuss mechanisms and strategies for addressing the various challenges associated with the implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement protocol and to finalise the road map.
The workshop was organised by the Migration and Development partnerships for Right-based Migration and mobility Governance in, and the West Africa (MADE, West Africa Project.
The MADE West Africa Project was a three development project funded by the European Union and is being implemented by three Partners: International Catholic Migration Commission 9 ICMC); Belgium, African Foundation for Development AFFORD, UK, and Centre for Migration Studies University of Ghana, Legon.
The project objective is to promote good governance of migration and mobility and protection of migrants’ rights, with a view of enhancing the development benefits of migration and mobility in West Africa, among others.
Prof Teye, who is also a member of the Inter-Ministerial working Group, said: “The other issue the policy wants to look at is migrants’ protection, so the policy provides frameworks to reduce some of the abuses and risks some of these migrants go through when travelling to other countries”.
The policy, he said, also had sections that dealt with returning migration, “so we thought it wise of having a policy of reintegration of migrants who returned back or those migrated to other countries and returned to Ghana”.
Professor Mariama Awumbila, the Project Coordinator of MADE West Africa project the draft roadmap was identified by the previous participants to find the key issues to deal with the state of implementation, as well as actions to be taken to address those issues.
She said the participants, would look at and work on developing it further, so that they could present it to the government, and wait on the outcome.
Prof Awumbila said the roadmap was suggestions that would be put forward to government, and “we are not binding government on its implementation.”
The implementation of the protocol has not being all that bad, fortunately the positives outweighs the negatives, it is good to look at the positives and see how we can analyse it and make sure the barriers are reduced.
Touching on the impasse between Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) and their Nigerian counterparts, she said: “Once Ghana is a signatory to the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol then, we are binding by its laws.
“Perhaps it is about time that we look at our national laws and see how we can harmonise it with the ECOWAS laws to benefit all.
“Certainly, there is a lot of advantages in terms of regional integration. Integrating the ECOWAS economy means all citizens will get access to markets of other countries and we will get people to come.
“Once that is recognised, we can see how we will harmonise our laws and see how best we can address the negatives, so that locals too will not feel they are losing out because other nationals are coming in and they are losing their jobs,’ she added.
The ECOWAS in recognition of the potential of intra-regional mobility to promote economic development in both migrant receiving and sending areas, adopted the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Establishment in 1979.
Since then, a number of supplementary protocols have been designed to facilitate the flow of goods, services and labour and labour within the ECOWAS region.