The Foods and the Drugs Authority (FDA) has warned exporters that they would impose the most punitive damages per the laws on those whose goods are repatriated as a result of non-conformity to standards and guideline procedures of the destination countries or zones.
According to the FDA, it has in recent times been called to receive repatriated goods due to the disregard of standards and guidelines that need to be followed before they are exported.
The Authority is worried at the number of goods being repatriated and fears that if nothing is done soon Ghana might receive a severe ban on the export of certain goods which would adversely affect the image of the country. The development is also likely to derail efforts at taking advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The head of Import and Export Unit at the FDA, Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng confirmed these at a stakeholders’ meeting in Tema.
“We want our stakeholders to know what is happening on the international market, we want them to adhere to standards and guidelines that will enhance their businesses outside. They should not think of ways to clandestinely maneuver their goods onto vessels and flights and export them out of the country. If they do not meet the global standards, they will be repatriated, and the exporter would be punished.
When your container is repatriated, you are losing the entire capital invested plus the cost of the shipment and the cost of reshipment, this is a lot of money. By the time the container finds its way back, whatever is in it might not be useful again. So, you don’t want to do it wrongly only to learn it the hard way,” Mr. Kwarteng said.
He explained that despite the education that has been given to exporters, some continue to export food products containing aflatoxin, several microorganisms, poorly labelled goods, among others.
These, he indicated, could have negative effects on the nation’s image and foreign trade. As a result, he noted that the FDA would be strict and reprimand exporters who are found culpable. “It will affect our foreign trade because they would not just blacklist products from one Ghanaian exporter to such countries but the goods from all other exporters in the sector. Because of one bad nut the nation is being noted and we have received warnings that we have to act upon ASAP,” he said
He disclosed that there is an administrative fine for any exporter whose product is repatriated, because government would have to bear the cost of bringing whatever has been repatriated either to destroy or bring it to some new conformance. The FDA is therefore entreating importers and exporters to come to its outfit for guidelines on goods they want to export so that they are able to sustain their operations.