The Economic Justice Network (EJN), a national coalition of civil society organisations working for socio-economic justice and equitable national development, was re-launched on Tuesday to deal with new policy threats affecting Ghanaian livelihoods.
Initially, formed in 2005, officials said the re-launch event was part of the process to better position the Network in relation to current economic and development challenges and broaden the membership base.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Tetteh Hormeku of Third World Network, said governments over the years had sought to deal with economic challenges confronting the country through reliance on foreign investors instead of building local capacities.
He said this common policy of successive governments to provide incentives to foreign investors had led to the abuse of the rights of Ghanaians and denial of their livelihoods.
Mr Hormeku said for instance the removal of import duty only help to promote the foreign private sector at the expense of the local Ghanaian economy.
“All that we have succeeded in doing all these years is to pursue economic policies that privileges foreign private sector,” he said and added that unless the country was able to counter the pressure by foreign governments on national policies, the country would be far from achieving its economic development aspirations.
He said the EJN was being re-launched in order for civil society groups to bring together their energy and expertise to deal with fundamental problems in the country’s economic policies.
“We should use our own knowledge, experience to formulate policies so it becomes a reference point to the struggle against bad policies,” he said, adding that the EJN would facilitate and build capacity of members and various constituencies.
Ibrahim Alkabila, Coordinator of the Ghana Trades and Livelihood Coalition, said the current trend in which the country exports all its products in the raw form, did not augur well for national development.
He said global trade policies had all sought to perpetuate Africa’s position as a raw material base for the industrialised nations, adding that the World Trade Organisation was rather serving the interest of the corporate world and not the developing countries.
Mr Akalbila said home-grown protocols aimed to promote trade and development among the countries in the sub-region such as those of the Economic Community of West African States were not working because of the influence of external forces/factors/influences.
“Due to globalization, our government’s hands have been tied and Africa needs to be in line or else it will be pushed off,” he said.
The Network has been at the forefront of advocacy on economic policy issues affecting Ghanaians, especially against the Economic Partnership Agreements, the planned free trade pact between European Union and Ghana as well as other African countries. GNA