The Food and Drugs Authority of Ghana has urged the importing public to register FDA-regulated products well ahead of the importation of goods at the ports of Ghana.
According to Mr. Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng, the Director of the Centre for Import and Export Control at FDA who was speaking on the Eye on Port programme, timely registration does away with the hustle associated with clearance of such products at the port.
Mr. Kwarteng said: “Registration is an elaborate process, where FDA cannot promise stakeholders 2, 5, 10 days to magically finish it. Testing alone cannot be done under 10 days”.
The FDA official emphasised that registration being FDA’s major tool to safeguard public health and safety, cannot be circumvented in anyway, and has to be complied with at all cost.
He made these assertions while reflecting on continuous pressure from some importing entities to clear goods that have not been registered.
Mr. Kwarteng averred that to ensure that his outfit does not impede trade facilitation, the FDA has over recent years undergone internal reforms to make registration efficient.
“The registration process for medicines have been cut into half the time. At most you can have your registration for medicine done within 6 months. For food, within the 3 months, and as early as one week,” he cited.
He said apart from a few major importers, large sections of the importing public lack adequate understanding of the FDA’s processes leading to low compliance.
The Director in charge of the Centre for Import and Export Control at FDA, appealed to importers to always contact the FDA when interested in introducing commercial products to Ghana. He stated that ‘pulling surprises’ will end up with such products being subjected to the necessary laborious process.
Mr. Kwarteng also revealed that the FDA has noticed that some importers try to ‘dupe’ feed the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) with false FOB figures that would significantly reduce the fees owed FDA.
He served a strong warning to such individuals and entities saying that due to the digitalised system, they will be traced and sanctioned accordingly.