Review EPA- PEF appeals to Alan Kyeremanten
It appears named Minister of Trade and Industry; Alan John Kyeremanten will have to brace himself to address the many grievances outlined by the private sector that was overlooked by the outgoing Mahama government as proposals begin to pour in.
President Elect, Nana Akufo-Addo on Wednesday announced in a meeting with the leadership of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), the mother body of all business associations in the country that Mr. Kyeremanten with his enormous experience will be the Minister of Trade and Industry.
But even before Mr. Kyeremanten is vetted and approved by parliament, the president of PEF Nana Osei-Bonsu has made a demand for the would-be minister to review the impact of the Economic Partnership Agreement, signed with the European Union by the outgoing government.
According to him, the review will enable captains of industry to ascertain the through impact of the agreement since it did not favour local producers.
“We request a review of the Economic Partnership Agreement and how it is going to affect both our export and infant domestic industries in view of Brexit, one the biggest trading partners of Ghana in the EU”, he said.
Nana Osei-Bonsu further requested the abolishment of the one percent tax on income from agriculture since it was a disincentive to the sector.
“We request removal of the one percent tax on income from agriculture investment which is further curtailing investment in the growth of the sector that employs 44 percent of our population,” he said
Ghana signed EPA in August
Ghana’s parliament ratified the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between government and the European Union (EU) in August 2016.
Government earlier signed onto the agreement (interim) but was awaiting ratification from Parliament as stipulated in the country’s laws in relation to international agreements.
The ratification of the agreement by Parliament led to the entry of a percentage of imports from Europe to Africa and vice versa, free of tariffs.
For Ghana, some of the duty-free access on exports to the EU market include processed cocoa products, fruit and vegetable products, and fish.
Prior to its ratification, a number of business associations as well as civil society organisations kicked against the agreement arguing that the deal will do more harm than good for the country.
CSO’s kick against agreement
Coordinator of the Third World Network, Dr. Yao Graham earlier told Citi Business News “Overall the EPA will not be beneficial for Ghana or West Africa. The EPA will lead to a loss of jobs and other means of livelihood…In the manufacturing and other industrial sectors, the EPA will cost about 40,000 jobs in ten years. We also anticipate that there will be a collapse of domestic industry, especially in the life manufacturing sector …It will also undermine ECOWAS economic integration and the wider process of intra-Africa trade and lead to the loss of government revenue from trade duties.”