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TUC TAKES ON GOV’T FOR SIGNING EPA

By: James Harry Obeng

The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) says it is disappointed that government has signed the interim agreement covering the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), adding the agreement is a clear demonstration of the European Union’s (EU) selfish intents.

The Union said it was also surprised that government could waive her concerns to initial the interim EPA, despite the caution that it was only false for government to assume that by integrating quickly into the global economy, the country could step up productivity and enhance competition among local enterprises.

It further identified the unbridled trade liberation of the EPA coupled with the high lending rates in the country as the major constraints to the international competitiveness of domestic enterprises, questioning “how can our enterprises compete on the international market when firms in other countries are borrowing at less than 5 per cent interest rate while investors in Ghana have to pay over 20 per cent interest rate on loans”

These were concerns raised by the Acting Secretary-General of the TUC, Bro. Kofi Asamoah, as this year’s May Day celebration came pass in Accra, adding “we were very disappointed to learn that our government has initialled the interim agreement.

“We are strongly opposed to the signing of the interim EPA because of its potential negative impact on job creation in Ghana” he noted.

Bro. Asamoah enumerated that aside the negative effect of the EPA on job creation in the country, such commitment defeated the objective of nurturing a competitive private sector, increased revenue mobilisation for the provision of social services and to improve the country’s weak economic infrastructure.

He said the TUC had drawn the attention of government to the potential risks involved in concluding a free trade agreement with a trade giant like the European Commission, saying such a move was a clear demonstration of the EU’s selfish intents.

“We were, however, very surprised to learn that Ghana government has finally succumbed to the pressures of the European Commission,” adding that, “ even Nigeria with the largest economy in the sub-region opted for the GSP+ which we recommended to Ghana government”

Since the agreement was in its interim form, Bro Asamoah advised government to take the concerns and suggestions of the TUC into account as it continued to negotiate the final EPA.

He also urged the government to exercise circumspection to ensure that the interests of the country and the ECOWAS sub-region were not compromised.

“On the interim EPA, taking into account the clout that Ghana has in the ECOWAS sub- region, we urged government to be circumspect and to work in partnership with other countries in the region to ensure that our national and sub-regional interests are well protected”.

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May 21, 2008 - Posted by | News

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