The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) will commence strict implementation of the registration of all regulated products prior to importation, effective February 1, 2021 at the Tema Port.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Food, Roderick Daddey-Adjei, said the authority will not allow the importation and clearance of unregistered products – adding that importers must register all new shipment or goods that are already on the high seas before they get into the country. He disclosed that over 20% of imports regulated by the FDA arrive at the port unregistered.
Mr. Daddey-Adjei stressed that banned products will either be re-exported, seized for destruction, or detained. “With effect from February 1, 2020, the FDA expects all imported regulated products to be registered prior to importation before getting into the country.”
Sections 99 and 118 of the Public Health Act, Act 851 of 2012, prohibits the importation of unregistered food, drugs, cosmetics, household chemical substances, medical devices, and tobacco and substances of abuse. Despite this prohibition, however, many importers continue to import unregistered products. These products find their way to the market and pose potential health hazards to unsuspecting consumers.
According to Mr. Daddey-Adjei, the registration affords the authority opportunity to evaluate the products and ensure they are safe, of good quality, and efficacious before they are given market authorisation.
The Head of Import and Export Control at Tema Port, Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng, indicated that to facilitate compliance on the business community’s part, the authority has since 2020 reduced its registration fee by about 80-90%.
He said a risk-based approach has also been put in place to expedite the registration process. The FDA is collaborating with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) to provide protection for importers. Registration numbers will be stamped on with import Tax Identification Numbers (TINS). Meanwhile, recalcitrant importers who continue to flout the law will be penalised.
Mr. Kwarteng warned that they will not tolerate the situation where imports of relatively small quantities of European and American brands are brought into the country for sale under the guise of personal effects.
Mr. Kwarteng indicated that many of these brands, which are supposedly brought in for personal use, are found in supermarkets across the nation. He therefore cautioned the general public to patronise only registered products. He also entreated stakeholders to comply with the authority’s measures to ensure health and safety for all.