The new Standards Bill which seeks to empower the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to impose hefty fines and destroy confiscated substandard goods is expected before parliament in the coming weeks, Minister-designate for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanteng told Parliament’s Appointment Committee.
Mr. 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 honorable house in the next couple of weeks or month, so that review has been done,” he said.
The minister designate was responding to a question by the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu about plans to enhance the operations of the national standards authority, if confirmed by the appointment’s committee.
Aside enabling the GSA to introduce stricter sanctions regime, the revised bill will eliminate duplication of roles and ‘turf wars’ 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.
Challenges such as the lack of warehouses to keep seized substandard goods and legislative power to destroy have undermined the GSA’s effort to combat the influx of inferior goods on the Ghanaian market.
About 90% 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.