General News of Thursday, 3 January 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Ban on used fridges, air conditioners now effective

The ban on the importation of used refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners took effect from yesterday, January 1, 2013.

That followed the coming into force of Legislative Instrument (LI) 1932 (2008) which bans the importation of those used items.

Following the passage of the law, a grace period of two years was put in place to allow importers and dealers to re-adjust their operations.

The association of dealers of used refrigerators, however, pleaded with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology to extend the deadline.

A decision was, therefore, arrived at by the two ministries and the dealers to extend the deadline to December 31, 2012.

“There has been a complete ban on the importation of used refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners. The ban took effect from today (January 1)," the Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, Dr Alfred Ofosu Ahenkorah, confirmed to the Daily Graphic yesterday.

The move to ban the importation of used fridges came as a result of their high energy consumption and the dangers they pose to the environment.

Ghana loses some revenue through energy wastage, hence the need to phase out those gadgets which consume excessive electric power.

Old and used fridges, for instance, are noted to contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a group of organic compounds containing elements including carbon, fluorine and, in many cases, other halogens and also hydrogen.

Dr Ahenkorah said the security agencies at the ports, especially the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, had been notified of the coming into force of the law.

The LI 1932, he said, also banned the importation of incandescent bulbs, which also consume high electricity, into the country.

Dr Ahenkorah said the Energy Commission was working closely with dealers in those used items who had been educated on the effects of those items on the country.

The commission, he said, was paying for the development of a business plan to establish facilities to assemble and manufacture those items in the country.

Ghana's embassies in India, Korea, China and Brazil are "seriously working" to get investors to establish assemblying and manufacturing plants in the country, he added.

The LI 1932 also bars the importation of new fridges that do not meet the minimum standards spelt out in LI 1958 and LI 1970.

Many Ghanaians who cannot afford the cost of new fridges rely on second-hand ones which have become a big business in the country.