The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has been much debated in recent weeks with supporters of EPA claiming that signing the agreement is mutually beneficial to Ghana and the EU. Some say we should be guided by the principle of costs and benefits. The Convention People's Party (CPP) wishes to note here the costs to Ghana of signing the Agreement with the European Union. Those who are for can tell the nation what the benefits are against these losses.
Signing the EPA will have a negative effect on the local manufacturing sector and put a minimum of 43,000 direct jobs at risk.
The tariff revenue loss for Ghana over the full implementation period of the EPA (through to 2022) is calculated to be in a minimum of $90 million annually. Ghana's Ministry of Trade and Industry's estimate is $150 million annually, and the United Nations and the South Centre's estimate is $374 million annually. Therefore, Ghana is expected to lose between US$1.12 billion and US$5.23 billion over a 14year period - This is the equivalent of up to 30 highways or ultra- modern hospitals.
LOSS ON POLICY SPACE
Import and export tariffs are valuable trade policy tools. Signing of the EPA will take away the use of this important policy tool due to World Trade Organisation rules, which tie our hands and stop us from having flexibility and control over our own trade policy. Thus, we will lose the option of using tariffs and price mechanism as means of protecting our local industries and addressing our balance of payment deficits. The EPA will, therefore, derail our agenda to increase our manufacturing capacity and enhance our productive capabilities.
LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY
Signing the EPA would bar Ghana from entering into any trade agreement with a third party. While this secures the interest of the EU, it deprives Ghana of the opportunity to enter any trade agreement with other developing countries such as China, India or Brazil. Overall, our ability to manoeuver within our own policy space is curtailed.
LOSS ON REGIONAL INTEGRATION
Current weaknesses stemming from conflicting and overlapping regional trade agendas means that signing the EPA, will further undermine the development of regional markets.
The ECOWAS region is an economic space and most of the domestic job-creating industries export mainly to the regional market. Going it alone and signing the EPA will attract retaliation from players, which want to protect their market, e.g. Nigeria. There is also the budding regional financial, services and infrastructure market that Ghanaian companies can tap into. The EPA will undermine common political solutions to common economic problems.
LOSS GOALS ON INDUSTRIALIZATION
Signing EPA will further de-industrialize the Ghanaian and West African economies with its negative effects on employment and employment creation.
It is because of these losses that The Convention People's Party, The Ghana Trade union Congress (GTUC), Third World Network, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Christian Council, Pentecostal Churches and numerous groups across our country are against the EPA.
The Government and those who are for signing should educate Ghanaians on the benefits which outweigh the huge negative impact on our country.
Nii Armah Akomfrah
CPP Director of Communication.