MPs back Standards Authority bill

MPs back Standards Authority bill

Some Members of Parliament (MP) have pledged their unflinching support for a review of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) bill to strengthen and expand the Authority’s scope of operations to confront the challenges in relation to standards.

According to them, the proposed bill when passed will also give the GSA financial autonomy to execute its mandate effectively.

The Ghana Standards Authority bill 2021, which is currently before Parliament, seeks to establish the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) as the institution responsible for the establishment and promulgation of standards, enforcement of conformity assessment programmes, and regulation of activities in respect of weights and measures in the country.

It further seeks to revise the law relating to standardisation, conformity assessment and metrology.

Delivering the Business Statement on the floor of Parliament this week, Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin said the bill is critical to empower the Authority in its mandate to protect consumers and ensure goods which are on the Ghanaian market meet the required standards that will help the industry’s growth.

“The Standards Authority bill is important because all manner of things are trooping into the jurisdiction. All manner of things are trooping in and the scales of industry do not appear to be well balanced. We need a law for such enforcement.  So, Mr. Speaker, that is very important,” the Deputy Majority Leader stated.

“Mr. Speaker, your leadership has taken a decision to put everything in place to motivate and inspire committees to ensure that they do their work and do it well. Mr. Speaker, of emphasis again is the Ghana Standards Authority bill and the National Pensions Amendment bill,” he added.

The Standards bill 2021 seeks to consolidate the Standards Authority Act, 1973 (NRCD 173) and the Weights and Measures Act, 1975 (NRCD, 326) into one enactment for effective administration of the GSA’s responsibilities.

A report of the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, published on page 078 of the February 4, 2020 edition of the Hansard, recommended a review of the GSA’s legal mandate to incorporate the imposition of administrative fines as well as the power to destroy sub-standard goods upon seizure. In the Committee’s view, this will serve as a deterrent to offenders.

The Committee also recommended that the proposed Standards bill should be considered by Cabinet expeditiously, and tabled before parliament without delay.

Alex Osei Boateng, Public Relations Department-GSA, in a statement said Ghana’s quest to become the number-one trading hub in Africa could finish up being a huge joke of shocking proportions if issues of Standardisation and Conformity Assessment are put on the back-burner.

He said despite the critical role played by the Authority in the national economy, it is faced with numerous challenges which hamper its efficient and effective operation; hence the call for the immediate passage of the bill to give the Authority full mandate to operate.

GSA cracks the whip

Meanwhile, the Authority has engaged the services of 200 trainees of the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to help ensure that imported goods and those manufactured in the country meet acceptable standards.

The enforcement officers, known as the Trading Standards Officers (TSOs), have been drafted in to conduct market surveillance and other activities to weed out fake brands and inject sanity into the trading of goods in the country.

The Authority has kick-started a series of training programmes for the TSOs, who are expected to commence work as soon as the exercise is completed.

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