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Business News of Thursday, 22 November 2012

Source: B&FT

Traders brace for weighing-scales

Traders are bracing for the eventual re- introduction of Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments (NAWIs) and measures for both domestic and international trading activities by June 2013.

The re-introduction of the weighing-scales is to ensure uniformity in trading, eliminate disputes and price-related ambiguities among trading partners, and facilitate trade between the country and its West African neighbours where the use of weighing scales and measures is well-established

Mr. E. N. A. Arde-Acquah, Director Metrology Division, Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), said: “We have held a meeting with importers of weighing-scales, manufacturers and market women. We will soon meet other stakeholders -- Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the Information Studies Department and others.

“They [market women] are committed to successful implementation of the programme,” he told the B&FT in an interview.

“All our neighbours use weighing-scales in trading; there are even scales for cattle. We want to sell more as a country, but if we continue to group and measure we will push away potential customers to our neighbours. This [absence of weighing-scales for trading activities] presents a barrier to trading with our West African neighbours,” he added.

Prospective importers of NAWIs must first obtain a pattern approval from the GSA before going ahead to import the scales. The pattern approval requires the importer to register with the GSA, present a prototype of the scales, and the technical manual for testing.

Importers will also need to submit an International Organisation Legal Metrology Certificate of Conformity (IOLMC) to the GSA

Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments (NAWIs) are weighing instruments that require the action of gravity to determine mass and require the intervention of an operator during weighing.

Mr. George Omane-Twumasi, the Head of Legal Metrology, explained that any scales imported for trading must be Class-three. “The metrology characteristics [of class three] should indicate a serial number, maximum capacity, the verification scale interval, and the number of divisions should be equal to or greater than 500.”

Mr. Omane Twumasi added that -- to ensure that scales are not tempered with by traders, all scales must have a sealing facility. This will enable GSA and MOTI officials to identify all scales whose seal have been be broken.

In 1960, by the weights and measures Act 255, the Ghana Police Service took over the implementation of weights and measures activities. In 1991, the Ghana Standards Board by LI 1325 became the governmental organisation responsible for the administration and enforcement of weights and measures in Ghana.

Weights and measures activity is currently under the ministerial control of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI).

The enabling law, the Weights and Measures Decree NRCD 326: 1975, provides the legal framework for the administration of weights and measures.

The law defines among other things the units of measurements, weights and measures for trade and industry; and its administration and offences.

The MOTI earlier this year launched the re-introduction of the weighing-scales for trading activities. The ministry said in March that a directive will soon be issued for implementation of the system by June 2013.

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