GSA requests stiffer scrutiny of imported goods

Prof. Alex Dodoo, Director-General, GSA shows seized items to the members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry and other Management Staff of GSA

The Ghana Standards Authority is requesting for closer monitoring of imported items into the country through more thorough import inspections than is currently the case.

The demand the Authority explained, is to ensure that all kinds of goods entering the country, meets the necessary quality standards. Currently, inspections carried out of goods being imported into Ghana focus primarily on establishing the values, in order to ensure that the correct import duties are paid.

The Director General of GSA, Professor Alex Dodoo made this request at a meeting with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry on the recent seizure of fake and substandard cables imported into the country.

Under the Ghana Conformity Assessment Program (G-CAP), there are three methods imposed on importers to ascertain the compliance of their products with quality standards, and from these, the importers are required to obtain a Certificate of Conformity (CoC).The procedures are:

• Route A: Applicable to any goods and any trader

• Route B(Registration): Recommended for frequent exporters (to Ghana) with homogeneous products

• Route C (Licensing): For Certified products.

CoC isthe document issued to evidence the compliance of the shipment to the relevant approved quality standards.

In August this year, the Authority conducted a test of electrical products on the market. Of this, 60 percent failed the critical parameter test. This figure stands at about 96 percent when the wrong labeling of goods is taken into consideration.

GSA recently seized five containers of fake and substandard cables that were imported from China at the Tema Port.

Prof. Dodoo said the Central Intelligence Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service is working assiduously to stem the marketing of substandard quality products on Ghana’s consumer markets. However, asked for Parliament’s backing in the process of securing a more efficacious import inspection regime to ensure that substandard and fake goods are not allowed into the country in the first place.

He stated, “because, if you are going to remove those substandard products from circulation you have to keep them for six months, which comes at a cost of warehousing and other losses.”

The Authority is collaborating with other stakeholders including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on how such products could be destroyed.

Currently, the authority is not permitted by law to dismantle and destroy substandard products when confiscated without liaising with other regulatory agencies on the way forward.

By Joshua W. Amlanu