Afenyo-Markin Stresses Level Playing Field For Intra ECOWAS Trade

Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, Leader of Ghana’s Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, has stressed the need for countries of the sub-regional group to have a level playing field in their trading activities.

He said one ECOWAS market required that trade incentives were made available to all member nations of the community bloc.

“One market requires that we create, also, the balances to have some level playing field. So, if there are some incentives in one area and another area has no such incentives, it creates some imbalance when somebody gets access to that market,” Mr Afenyo-Markin said.

In response to a media question on trade imbalances in the sub-region, Mr Afenyo Markin, who is also the Deputy Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, called on the member nations to specifically look at how they were affected and address identified imbalances.

“If there is any imbalance, in terms of resource availability, in terms of the laws, we can specifically deal with it. And this issue of Ghana-Nigeria ends once and for all,” he said.

This was after the Leader of Ghana’s Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament had received a delegation of the community Parliament, at his office at the Parliament House, in Accra, on Friday, ahead of a five-day delocalized ECOWAS Parliament meeting, to be held at Winneba next week.

The meeting to take place from 27th July to 31st July 2021, will examine the impact of telecommunications on security and human rights in the sub-region.

Mr Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, is expected to formally open the delocalized meeting.

The Speaker of the Parliament of Nigeria and the Third Deputy Speaker of Parliament are also expected to address the Winneba delocalized meeting for the ECOWAS Parliament.

Mr Afenyo-Markin, who is also the MP for Efutu Constituency in the Central Region, stressed the need for Ghana and Nigeria to adopt measures to ensure that there is no standoff in their trade relations.

“We may have to specifically look at how we are affected and if there is any imbalance, in terms of resource availability, in terms of the laws, we can specifically deal with it. And this issue of Ghana-Nigeria ends once and for all.”

Ghana is considering a review of its investment legislation, including the Ghana Investment Promotion Company Act, to allow foreigners to engage in retail trade.

On next week’s delocalized meeting at Winneba, Mr Afenyo-Markin assured would-be participants that Ghana would make the meeting a memorable one, with adequate security arrangements for all.

“To us, the ECOWAS dream is very important to pursue; and we want to take this opportunity to assure you that Ghana is committed to all the protocols of ECOWAS, and we are ready to make this meeting a memorable one,” the Leader said.

He reminded the delegation of an Extraordinary ECOWAS meeting, also scheduled for Ghana next September.

“As you may be aware already, in September, an extraordinary session is also due to take place in Ghana.

“President Akufo-Addo addressed the Ordinary Session in May in Abuja. I believe he brings on board a lot of enthusiasm, commitment and leadership that is expected of him (as ECOWAS Chairman) that is expected of him in the sub-region.”

During the call, Mr Mahama Ayariga, Spokesperson for the eight-member Ghana delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, said the choice of the subject for discussion at the delocalized meeting was based on the expansion and explosion of telecommunication, and how it had affected political, social and economic activities.

Mr Ayariga noted that social media had become a major platform for political expression, aside its major roles in economic and social activities.

He said the meeting would discuss how the member nations could develop convergence in mobile telephony for their business and remove telecommunication barriers in the sub-region including roaming charges.

Mr Ayariga, who also represented the people of Bawku Central Constituency noted that the use of mobile phones in money transactions was good and had made life easier for all.

The Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS, is a regional political and economic union of 15 countries located in West Africa, created in 1975.

Collectively, these countries comprise an area of 5,114,162 km², and in 2015 had an estimated population of over 349 million.