The Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) sanctions the decision by the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) to withhold the implementation of the Certificate of Conformity (COC) programme which was scheduled to take effect from October 1, 2014.
The Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry appreciates any effort aimed at preventing the importation of unsafe, substandard and/or counterfeit goods. However, no matter how good that initiative is it should not be done unilaterally.
The majority of the key stakeholders in Ghana were not involved in the decision-making process regarding the Product Conformity Assessment programme. When people are part of the design and implementation of policies they tend to respect and obey them because they understand the details. It is therefore likely that any such swift attempt at implementing the programme would meet steep opposition from the industrial front.
Our members are already battling with rising cost of doing business in the country and it is highly probable that the exporting companies would pass on the cost of the assessment to the importer or buyer who will also in turn pass it on to the final consumer, a situation that has the potential of bringing untold hardship on Ghanaians.
In the face of rising inflation and weak currency; many people are agitating strongly and calling for mitigating measures, therefore, introducing any policy that will compound the situation will be very unfortunate.
There is no doubt that many aspects of the programme need clarification – 5% fees for pre-shipment; verification fees of between 200 and 300 dollars; registration of fees of 375 dollars, and 300 dollars per inspection of used vehicles. The business community is already confused about the difference between the COC and other inspections that are already being done by the FDA and the GSA. Importers are wondering why the GSA and the FDA would not liaise to carry out one standard inspection instead of resorting to different inspections at the detriment of the Ghanaian importer.
It is clear that much consultation and education have to be done before the implementation of the programme.
The GCCI is therefore happy that the GSA has heeded to calls for it to rescind its decision to implement the programme as originally planned until further stakeholder consultations are done.
The Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry is particularly pleased that the executives of the GSA have appreciated the advice the Chamber gave them at a meeting held on Tuesday 16th September, 2014 to have a second look at the timing of the implementation of the COC programme.
We urge the Ghana Standard Authority to engage all key stakeholders in a round table discussion to iron out all aspects shrouded in uncertainty.
Hon. Dr. Seth Adjei Baah
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