Cabinet green lights new Standards Bill

Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen

Cabinet has given approval for the new Standards Bill to be presented to Parliament for consideration and passage, Trade and Industry Minister-designate Alan Kyerematen told the vetting committee last Friday.

The bill which replaces the Standards Authority Act 1973 (NRCD 173) will empower the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to destroy seized substandard goods while introducing stricter penalties including hefty fines to importers of inferior items.

Mr. Kyerematen said the bill would be laid before parliament in the coming weeks. “The process has been fully exhausted, it’s gone through Cabinet and hopefully it will be laid before this honourable house in the next couple of weeks or month, so that review has been done,” the Minister-designate told the committee.

The new bill will prevent duplication of roles and turf wars with other state regulatory agencies, update the 47-year-old legislation which mandated the GSA to meet modern quality control trends while consolidating its dotted regulations.

“Once the bill is laid and the house passes it into law, the GSA can protect the Ghanaian consumer while supporting businesses to grow,” the Director-General of GSA, Prof. Alex Dodoo said.

The lack of power to destroy or infrastructure to keep impounded substandard goods have undermined the authority’s effort to tackle the dumping of low-grade products on the Ghanaian market, despite periodic market raids to seize such items.

In 2018, more than 80 percent of electrical cables, household appliances, clothing and vehicle, spare-parts sampled from across markets in Accra and Kumasi, failed the labeling requirement and the test for critical parameters, which had health and safety implications.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement has made it more crucial for standards to be enforced to prevent the local market from being flooded with substandard goods.

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