IMANI Ghana, a policy and education think tank, has disclosed that Ghana has not made the best out of its Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
The think-tank made this known when it released a report in Accra that examined the various FTAs that Ghana had entered into.
IMANI revealed that Ghana has recorded trade deficits from 2006 to 2016, save the year 2011, from the Interim European Partnership Agreement.
It noted that compared to Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana has not maximized its trade opportunities from the partnership agreement.
“Ghana has not gained much from the interim EPA agreement – evident by the persistent trade deficit over the years,” the report noted. It however commended Ghana’s performance in the export of certain commodities.
These included cocoa, which grew by 197 percent, rubber and its articles thereof growing by 259 percent and processed vegetables growing by 3 percent. “The story is not very different when it comes to our trade with the United States of America. This free trade agreement is regulated by the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
This agreement gave Sub-Saharan African countries preferential access to the US market for over 6,000 products.
“With this agreement, Ghana recorded trade deficits for the past decade that is 2006 to 2016. AGOA presents potential for expansion of Ghana’s export to the US but this opportunity remains largely unexploited,” it stated.
The extension of AGOA until 2025 will give government time to leverage its opportunities especially with the recent Akufo-Addo administration, setting a US$500 million export target by 2020.
IMANI suggested to government to explore avenues for setting up a reliable credit rating system.
This system would give the banks more trust in the credit worthiness of potential entrepreneurs to expand the business of Ghanaians and boost the trade prospects of the country.
It also proposed good information sharing mechanisms and capacity building training in order to enhance the human capital of the average entrepreneur to maximize profits and also expand the trade opportunities of the country.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay reiterated government’s commitment to third party interventions and spoke of its importance to nation building and good governance.
He noted that the government would look at the recommendations and see what would be best for the country.