Economic Partnership Agreement EPA will not hurt SMEs if...-Murtala Mohammed

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Murtala Mohammed, has however, tasked Small and Medium Enterprises to expand operations in order to take advantage of the European market.

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The Economic Partnership Agreement grants duty-free access to non-traditional exports from Ghana to the EU and vice versa.

Parliament signed an interim EPA agreement last week, sparking criticisms from players in the business sub-sector who say local businesses would open local businesses up for unfair competition.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Murtala Mohammed, has however, tasked Small and Medium Enterprises to expand operations in order to take advantage of the European market.

“SMEs must pay attention to the quality of their products, as well as take steps to increase production. The EPA is not negative, if you are able to take advantage of it, as it will grant you access to the European market.”

READ MORE: EPA Ghana signs interim Economic Partnership Agreement with EU

The deputy minister added that government is doing all within its power to provide steady supply of power for SMEs.

“I will not be lying if I say the energy crisis has not affected Small and Medium Enterprises. There is no question at all about that. We must take steps to continue the stability in power we are currently enjoying.”

Meanwhile, Ghana's Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh has disputed claims by the Third World Network, a civil society organisation in Ghana, that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was poorly debated in parliament.

Parliament on Wednesday, August 3 ratified the Interim EPA with the European Union after the executive had approved it.

A programmes officer with the Third World Network Africa, Sylvester Bagoroo said the EPA contained "dangerous clauses" which he expected parliament to debate on for months to get the best deal for Ghana.

He said: "We at Third World Network Africa we are disappointed with what parliament as an institution has done.  This is an agreement that was negotiated for over a decade because there were a lot of dangerous clauses in that agreement. We were expecting parliament to debate it at committee level for months.

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