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Business News of Monday, 1 March 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Standards Authority to 'crack the whip' as new Bill gets to Parliament in weeks – Alan Kyeremanten

The new standards bill which seeks to empower the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to impose hefty fines and destroy confiscated substandard goods would be laid before parliament in the coming weeks, Minister-designate for Trade and Industry has told the house vetting committee.

Alan Kyerematen said Cabinet has given approval for the bill to be presented to legislators for consideration and passage.

“The process has been fully exhausted, it’s gone through Cabinet, and hopefully it will be laid before this honourable house in the next couple of weeks or month, so that review has been done,” he said to the committee.

The minister-nominee was responding to a question posed by the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu about plans to enhancing the operations of the national standards authority, if confirmed by the appointment committee.

Aside enabling the GSA to introduce stricter sanctions regime, the revised bill will eliminate duplication of roles and turf wars often encountered with other regulators such as the Food and Drugs Authority among others.

The bill also updates decades-old legislation such as the Standards Authority Act 1973 (NRCD 173) which governs GSA’s operations while consolidating the regulator’s scattered pieces of statutes and regulations.

Challenges such as the lack of warehouses to keep seized substandard goods and legislative power to destroy have undermined GSA’s effort to combat the influx of inferior goods on the Ghanaian market.

About 90 percent of electrical cables, household appliances, apparels, vehicle spare-parts and accessories sampled across selected markets in 2018 failed the labeling requirement and the test for critical parameters, which had health and safety implications.

Industry watchers say the commencement of trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement has made it more imperative for standards to be enforced.

“The only way to protect our market from unfair trade practices in the AfCFTA programme is to have a robust quality control system and enforce it,” GSA’s Director-General, Prof. Alex Dodoo told Joy Business in an interview.

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