NTE earnings to US$5billion hinges on EPA - Ministry of Trade

Author: Maxwell Adombilla Akalaare

The Ministry of Trade and Industry says the country's desire to double earnings from the non- traditional export (NTE) sector can only be possible if the country signs onto the EPA. 

As a result, Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, Director of Regional and Bilateral Trade, said the country will continue to lobby three of its West African neighbours, Nigeria, Gambia and Mauritania, to sign onto the agreement. 

The signatures of the three countries are needed to ensure that West Africa speaks with one voice on the EPA. 

Currently, 13 countries in West Africa, minus Nigeria, Gambia and Mauritania, have signed onto the agreements, which give 100 per cent access to Ghanaian exports into the 18-member country.

In return, selected goods from each of the EU members will be granted unrestricted access to Ghana and other signatory counties.

With Ghana aiming at doubling earnings from NTEs from the current $2.5 billion to $5 billion,  Mr Baafi said easy access to a strategic market like the EU was necessary hence the need to sign onto the agreement.

The CEO of the Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) , Nana Osei Bonsu,  however,  said the business community didn't share in the government's optimism.

In their current state, Nana Bonsu said businesses were unprepared to compete in the EU market, where advanced businesses have been exporting into for decades.

For that to happen, Nana Bonsu said the government needed to enhance the capacity of the businesses through strategic measures that will strengthen their operational capacities while expanding their base

"So far as I am concern, we are not against EPA.  What we want is a better arrangement that will protect our interest," he said at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting on the EPAs in Accra on Tuesday.