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Business News of Sunday, 30 November 2003

Source: GNA

GSB urged to decentralise operations

Elmina, Nov. 30, GNA, - Participants at a workshop to re-launch and promote the mark of conformity of the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) at Elmina on Saturday, have called for the decentralisation of the operations of the Board to encourage local industrialists to send their products for certification.

This would help stem the practice whereby some manufacturers had to travel to Accra, for the testing and analyses of samples of their products and to eliminate the forging and use of the mark on products to eliminate sub-standard goods on the market.

The workshop organised by the GSB in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and President's Special Initiatives was geared towards raising awareness on the significance of the mark, as well as the harm caused by its indiscriminate and unauthorised use.

Participants at the workshop under the theme "Consumer Assurance - Ghana Standards Board's Mark of Conformity," included industrialists, small-scale entrepreneurs, traders and exporters, as well as officials from the Food and Drugs Board (FDB).

In a six-point communiqu?, they also expressed concern about the negative effects of the unauthorised use of the mark on the health of consumers and called on the Board to publish in the media a list of manufacturers whose products have been certified, to raise public awareness.

The GSB, it said, should also enforce the law through regular inspections and recommended the prosecution of defaulting manufacturers to serve as deterrent.

It also recognised the role of printing and advertising houses in ensuring the production of quality goods and appealed to such organisations to ensure that manufacturers they print labels for and their products they advertise have the Mark certified by the Board.

The communiqu? urged the public not to hesitate in reporting those who illegally emboss the mark of conformity on their products to safeguard the health of the people.

Mr Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, Government Spokesperson on Social Services, gave the assurance that government would continue to support the Board to enable it perform its functions effectively.

Mr Amponsah-Bediako, however, pointed out that all Ghanaians, irrespective of their political or religious leanings, had an obligation in ensuring that items produced in the country were of the required standards for the growth of the economy.

He enumerated several programmes to step up socio-economic growth and called on the participants to be "preachers and practitioners of the good news" to spread the message on the importance of ensuring good standards to enable the nation meet the challenges of the international market.

The Acting Executive Director of the GSB, Mr Nimo Ahenkora, stressed the importance of enforcing and ensuring the proper use of the mark of conformity, to safeguard the health of the people.

He expressed concern about the importation of shoddy goods, particularly electronic gadgets into the country and urged the public to ensure that countries of origin and other identifications marks were on products they buy, as a precaution against buying imitated goods.

Mr Ahenkora said the Board with offices in Kumasi, Takoradi, Koforidua, Ho and Tamale, was working on plans to open branches in Cape Coast and Sunyani next year.

The participants deliberated on pertinent issues, such as "the relevance of standards and their importance to trade and industry" and "legal issues concerning the mark of conformity".