The Trade Union Congress, TUC has asked the country’s legislature not to sanction the Economic Partnership Agreement reached between ECOWAS and the European Union.
The Trades Union Congress in a press statement condemned the agreements saying it is ‘’inimical’’ to economic growth and development of the country.
The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) on July 10, 2014 agreed to sign the partnership pact at the 45th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Governments in Accra.
But Ghana’s Trades Union Congress in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Kofi Asamoah said the decision is contrary to the long held views and positions expressed by experts, stakeholders and ordinary citizens and corroborated by reputable institutions such as the United Nations.
“TUC calls upon Parliamentarians to demonstrate due leadership when this inimical agreement is presented to them for ratification,” he stated.
According to him the terms and provisions of the EPA will put “undue pressure from the subsidized goods from Europe and loss of revenue from trade taxes”, thus a collapse of the domestic, manufacturing and other productive sectors of Ghana’s economy.
Below is TUC’s full Statement
TUC GHANA CONDEMNS APPROVAL OF EPAS
The Trades Union Congress TUC (Ghana) adds its voice to; in no uncertain terms condemn the decision of West African leaders to approve the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union (EU). The decision, taken at the 45th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Governments on July 10, 2014 in Accra, is contrary to the long held views and positions expressed by experts, stake-holders and ordinary citizens and corroborated by reputable institutions such as the United Nations.
Several Stake-holders including Faith-based organisations, trade associations, farmer-based organizations, women groups, Ordinary citizens, non-governmental organizations and private sector players have repeatedly demonstrated over the years that the EPAs are against the fundamental developmental needs and imperatives of the economies of West Africa.
The terms and provisions in the EPA text as it stands now, will lead to a total collapse of the domestic manufacturing and other productive sectors simply due to undue pressure from the subsidized goods from Europe and loss of revenue from trade taxes. Committing the ECOWAS Region to develop a roadmap and modalities for further liberalization and deregulation of a range of areas including those not required by International rule or obligation within six months of its adoption, shows how tilted the EPAs are.
One expects ECOWAS leaders to pursue a trade policy that protects local goods, encourage home industry and taxes foreign products thus putting the burden of revenue on the foreign goods; a trade policy that secures the ECOWAS, or for that matter, an African market for the African producer and not one that upholds European standards for the European worker. The EPAs make the ECOWAS worker completely dependent on foreign demand and price.
ECOWAS leaders fully understanding the consequences yet going ahead to sign the EPAs and putting the region’s development in jeopardy thus curtailing their own governments’ ability to take charge of their home grown developmental policies, is very strange, to say the least. This is complete pain inflicted on the people of West Africa in return for a paltry aid (far less than total WA trade taxes) promised by the European Union and an attempt to save a few groups of exporters when indeed credible alternatives exist that can address the concerns and needs of all stake-holders.
The TUC (Ghana) supports the call by the Economic Justice Network (EJN) that this agreement cannot be accepted by ordinary workers, men and women of this country who struggle daily in the midst of the precarious economic situation. TUC calls upon Parliamentarians to demonstrate due leadership when this inimical agreement is presented to them for ratification.
For: TRADES UNION CONGRESS (GHANA)
By: Evans Effah/citifmonline.com/Ghana