Ghana's private sector is said to be in danger of losing out in the future on the benefits available under the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) regime as players in the sector have shown apathy to the process of determining tariffs for the sub-region.

The Acting National Coordinator of the CET, Mr. Frimpong Kwarteng-Amaning, said the private sectors of Nigeria and the French-speaking countries would certainly reap the benefits under the CET because they were positioning themselves to secure their interests under the new dispensation. Mr. Kwarteng-Amaning said the private sector in Côte d'Ivoire, for example, had been sending a strong team of 12 representatives to every ECOWAS forum on the new tariffs, and so has Nigeria. He expressed regret that the Ghanaian private sector had developed cold feet towards such negotiations, adding "In Ghana, they want government to do so on their behalf".

He noted that unlike Ghana, the private sectors in the Francophone countries were ready to sponsor government officials to such negotiations as they were mainly expatriates, who understood the issues involved.

"I have to go to every office and factory to collect data and deliver letters personally to them, but still the response is lukewarm."

Mr. Kwarteng-Amaning said the CET was expected to have come into effect in December last year (2010) but could not, due to some rough edges that must be smoothened out.

He said that the next target was 2011, after the ECOWAS Heads of State have approved the new tariffs, which must be accepted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for the new tariffs to come into effect.