The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have instructed the West African Chief Negotiators to quickly start the process of signing and implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
A communiqué issued at the closing of the 45th Ordinary Session of Heads of State in Accra Thursday evening stated: “The Heads of State and Government decisively approve the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiated and taking due account of the technical concerns raised.”
It further entreated the negotiators to sustain their efforts especially, by informing and raising awareness of the national and regional actors.
Signing of the Agreement has met several oppositions over the years with some Member States contemplating on its benefit to the sub-region in terms of fair trade with the international market.
The approval was due to “the consensual results reached by the Chief Negotiators on all the issues (particularly on the market access offer, the EPA Development Programme (EPADP) and the text of the Agreement),” it maintained.
The work of the Ad Hoc Committee set up by the 44th Ordinary Session of the Authority, it mentioned, considered the technical concerns raised by some Member States and whose recommendations led to appropriate solutions on the issues.
In a separate development, the Authority has approved the abolition of the residence permit and the introduction of the Biometric Identity Card for West African citizens.
This new system, therefore, requires the Ministers in-charge of security to review all the security implications prior to the signing of the Supplementary Acts to be held soon.
The communiqué entreated Member States to sustain these efforts aimed at boosting the regional economic performance.
It said the approval of these protocols would consolidate a common market in the sub-region.
In collaboration with all stakeholders, the Authority instructed the ECOWAS Commission to meet the implementation deadlines of the tasks ahead.
Regarding the single currency for the sub-region, the communiqué indicated that the summit endorsed “the recommendations on the convergence criteria, the streamlining of the institutions and the revised roadmap with a specific indication of the institutions in charge of its implementation.”