Alhaji Gibril Nuhu, Second in Command of the Volta Regional Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has attributed the increasing number of domestic and industrial fire outbreaks to the usage of counterfeited electrical products.
He said electrical products needed to conform to specific standards, such as the threshold of 01-1 Ohms resistance for cables used in electrical distribution systems as the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity could be compromised with inferior products.
Alhaji Nuhu stated at a three-day Regional Anti-Counterfeit Electrical Products Exposure Campaign sponsored and organised by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) at Ho, Volta Region.
The campaign and sensitisation workshop seeks to increase the level of public information about the dangers of counterfeit electrical products; reduce the ever-increasing sale of the products on the Ghanaian markets; save lives and limit the nefarious effects of electrical counterfeiting.
Alhaji Nuhu called on the public to patronise quality and genuine electrical products towards reducing the frequency of electrical fires, “as inferior electrical cables generated heat and broke insulations, circuit breakers fail to automatically prevent fires, and power regulators also fail to sustain currents.
“Electricity is a hazard that required special attention to operate efficiently, yet some consumers out of ignorance often resorted to patronise low cost products, which most often turns out to be fake products and risked electrocutions, damage to products, fires and explosion”.
He appealed to consumers to engage the services of accredited professionals towards ensuring standard installations, shun cheap deals, identify and buy authentic materials, and avoid overloading electrical gadgets.
Alhaji Nuhu said research indicated that counterfeit electrical products ranked second after pharmaceuticals, and dealers could evolve into an international crime organisation to protect their businesses.
He said fake products had penetrated online retail outlets and stressed on the need for effective collaboration with law enforcement agencies to get them off the markets, and commended CDA Consult for creating a multi-stakeholder public education platform.
Alhaji Nuhu said GNFS is mandated to prevent fires through public education and was working on a Legislative Instrument to ensure homes had fire certificates and appealed to the public to look out for seals of certification and ensure that the cross sections of cables and insulations were of the required size.
Alhaji Nuhu called for the establishment of product testing facilities for use by the various regulatory bodies in all Regions towards maintaining industry standards, and recommended the empowerment of standard committees to augment the efforts of regulators.
He further called on the regulatory agencies to intensify the crackdown on illegitimate operatives and asked safety campaigners to co-operate with engineers in that regard.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, Executive Director, CDA Consult said his outfit was collaborating with the Ghana Standards Authority on the sensitisation and public education campaign to raise the public awareness about the dangers of patronising fake electrical products.
He said whilst stakeholders in the electrical industry including regulators, law enforcement agencies, manufacturers, distributors, electrical contractors had a role to play in eliminating counterfeit electrical products from the market, consumers have a greater role - to identify and avoid counterfeit electrical products.
Mr Ameyibor explained that the Volta Regional Workshop was the first in a series of nationwide campaign against counterfeit electrical products. “We will intensify engagement with major stakeholders on the initiative; the Anti-counterfeiting educational crusade which seeks to help professionals understand the dangers associated with patronising counterfeit electrical products”.
CDA Consult anti-counterfeit electrical product workshop would cover the ten Regional capitals and 150 out of the 216 District capitals.
CDA Consult is collaborating with public institutions, including the Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Standards Authority, Electrical Contractors, Electrical Manufacturers, Electrical Shop Owners, Electronic Appliances Dealers, end users, security agencies, and the media in the campaign against the proliferation of counterfeit electric products.
The campaign and workshop is also focusing on equipping public officials with basic information to recognise electrical counterfeit items at first sight, ensure that officials take stiffer actions against dealers in counterfeit electrical products; and equip electricians and retailers to be able to distinguish between fake electrical products from genuine ones.
CDA Consult is therefore creating the platform to build the necessary forces against the proliferation of counterfeit electrical products. “We are creating a platform to expose the public to the main consequences of using cheap counterfeit electrical products – fire outbreaks and/or corporal harms like electrocution, loss of property, accidents and death.
“The national crusade against the proliferation and use of counterfeit electrical products is also aimed at discouraging the patronage of counterfeit electrical products and to direct taste towards genuine electrical products,” he said.
Togbe Asamoah IV, Chief of Ahunda in the Volta Region who chaired the workshop commended CDA Consult for organising the public education platform.
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