CONSUMERS and businesses in Ghana are set to see greater protection, thanks to the unveiling by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), of the National Quality Policy (NQP), the Ghana Standards Act 2022 (Act 1078) and the GSA’s five-year strategic plan.
The three Quality Infrastructure (QI) initiatives in Ghana come under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) and will among others promote private investments and spur the growth of firms in non-resource-based sectors.
While the NQP is aimed at ensuring that goods traded in the country are designed, manufactured, and supplied to respond to the needs, expectations, and requirements of consumers, the Act establishes the GSA as the Authority responsible for the creation and promulgation of standards and its enforcement.
The strategic plan, on the other hand, aims at consolidating gains made in the past to building an advanced quality infrastructure institution that is competitive, protects consumers and supports the country’s industrialisation drive.
Speaking at the launch of the three initiatives in Accra, Director General of the GSA, Prof. Alex Dodoo noted that the coming into force of the NQP and the GSA Strategic Plan are to ensure the protection of society and lives.
“Without adhering to international standards, Ghana may not be able to enjoy the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as products from the country will continue to suffer rejection due to non-conformity with standards” he warned.
Prof Dodoo maintained that “these initiatives reflect Ghana’s commitment to quality, innovation, and competitiveness on the global stage. As we forge ahead, it is critical for all stakeholders – public and private, to work together to ensure the realisation of these initiatives and ensure that quality remains at the heart of our country’s progress”
The new Ghana Standards Authority Act, 1078 of 2022 which Parliament passed and swiftly received presidential assent had given the GSA a modern law to boost its operations, replacing the 50 year old law.
The Act is designed as part of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) to help improve the Standardization, Conformity Assessment and Metrology framework in Ghana in line with international treaties, best practices and national development priorities.
“Now all our certification, all our standardization are in line with the WTO and international best practice. The law clearly empowers the Authority to work in concert with other state agencies to avoid conflicts and then it protects consumers and industry,”
The Act comes with enforcement powers and administrative sanctions. There are penalties for infractions of the law, in that the Director General is given powers by the law to close down institutions which fail to conform to the national standards.
He pointed out that the law gives room for industry to adjust and correct anomalies failing which penalties are imposed.
“The administrative penalties are huge, starting from 500 units which is equivalent to GH¢6000 and then it grows by the day. For each day that the infractions remain the culprit accrues fines,” he disclosed.
The Minister for Trade and Industry , Mr Kobina Hammons in an address read for him stated, “we are very keen to deliver the overall objective of the Quality Policy, which is to provide a concise and coherent framework for regulatory and institutional reforms to ensure that goods and services emanating from or traded in Ghana meet the expectation of consumers and requirements of regulators in the local and export market.”