Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekow Spio Gabrah has met stakeholders in industry to discuss the introduction of the Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme (G-CAP) meant to ensure that products conform to quality of standards.
Dr Spio-Gabrah said the programme, when implemented, would improve quality of products through compliance with standards and regulations.
Ghana Standards Authority and SGS, a world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and Certification Company signed the G-CAP program on August 28, 2014, for the provision of conformity assessment services on goods to be imported when it comes into force.
The Minister assured members that the government would ensure that any decision taken on the programme was premiered on the basis of national interest and appealed to GSA to develop a document on the global and micro information on specific charges on the products.
Dr Spio-Gabrah said the end of March, a final decision would be taken as to whether to introduce the programme or not, urging participants to accept the outcome of the decision in good faith.
Mr Francis Bullen Gavor, a representative from SGS, explained that the G-CAP was intended to verify that products imported in Ghana were in conformity with the applicable Ghana Standards or the approved equivalents and technical regulations before shipment.
Under the G-CAP, products to be imported will undergo verification and testing in the country of supply and a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) will be issued to demonstrate that the product meets applicable standards.
He said the objective of the program was to protect the country and the Ghanaian consumers against the importation of substandard products that could endanger public health, safety and environment.
Mr Gavor said the categories of products covered by the program include toys, electrical and electronic products, automotive products, chemical products, mechanical materials and gas-related products, food and food products, construction materials, selected medical devices, petroleum products, textile and textile articles and used products.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has kicked against the program because they were not adequately informed for a consensus.
The Union said until better consensus wass built among stakeholders, the association would resist any attempt by the GSA to impose a legislation which could have negative repercussions on consumers.
Mr George Kweku Ofori, President of GUTA, said the introduction of the programme was being done by destination inspection companies and that the introduction of the certificate would lead to duplicity of roles.
Mr Ofori said the Association requested that the New Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies as against the existing Destination Inspection Companies must be clearly defined to avoid duplications or increases in cost of doing business and unnecessary prolonging of import transaction in the country.
Although the Association lauds the idea of safeguarding standards, quality and conformity to prevent the dumping of inferior goods into the country, it had identified lack of transparency, clarity and fairness and possible duplication of functions in the proposed G-CAP.
He said the G-CAP, as it was now, could lead to the collapse of many businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises, whose capital was not enough to be able to pay all the huge import taxes being imposed on them and also pay for services they had contracted.
Mr Ofori said their outfits are not ready to pay any amount of money if government went on to introduce the programme.