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The Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) has issued asked its members not to comply with any directive from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) on the implementation of the Ghana Standard Conformity Assessment Programme (GCAP).

According to the Association, the policy is obnoxious and lacks transparency.

The implementation of the GCAP, according to the GSA, is to ensure the prevention of substandard and fake products on the Ghanaian market.

Under the GCAP, products to be shipped to Ghana would be inspected by GSA service providers in the exporting countries and where the products conform to standards, a certificate of conformity will be issued by its service providers.

However, if a consignment or product does not meet specified requirements, a Non Conformity Report (NCR) would be issued and the exporter on the basis of that cannot export to Ghana.

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, George Ofori, President of GUTA said, “We are not all against the enforcement of conformity with standard in the country by the GSA but we have much concern with the approach and the hasty manner in which the GSA is pushing for the implementation.”

He said they had thoroughly studied and analyzed the programme including cost benefit analysis.

According to him, there has also not been comprehensive consultation with relevant stakeholders on the programme.

Mr. Ofori noted that most of the importers operate in the informal sector and purchase their goods from the open market of the country of import, explaining that “under these circumstances, it will be impossible to capture this group of importers into the GCAP since they do not buy directly from the manufacturers and therefore would be difficult for them to acquire certificate of conformance or analysis from the manufacturers.

Duplication Of Functions

Mr. Ofori called for a clear definition of function of the New Pre-Shipment Inspection Agencies as against the already existing Destination Inspection Company (DICs) in the country to avoid duplication of functions, increase cost of doing business, as well as unnecessarily prolongation of import transaction in the country.

“As a nation, if we want to revert to the pre-shipment era, then we should opt out of the current Destination Inspection regime to save the business community, especially traders from unnecessary bureaucratic processes and procedures, as well as increase cost of doing business,” he said.

Mr. Ofori stated that “as members of the business community, we hereby resolve and emphatically state herein that we shall not accept the imposition of the programme.

He called on all GUTA members and collaborators to ignore any further announcement, directive or circular that may come from the GSA until consensus was built among all the parties on the issue.

Meanwhile, the GSA last Friday announced its decision to defer the implementation of the Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme (GCAP) to November 1, 2014 to allow more time for further engagement with all stakeholders.
Source: Daily Guide

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