GUTA, TAGG supports GSA to enforce standards
Two trader’s associations in the country have lent support to the Ghana Standards Authority’s (GSA) renewed enforcement drive aimed at ridding the market of substandard products.
The associations, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG), believe that the activities adopted by the GSA, some of which are already in operation, to fight substandard goods were calculated measures that could help restore sanity into the market space and make trading in substandard products difficult for doggy importers and traders.
The President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, and the General Secretary of TAGG, Nana Opoku, told the Daily Graphic in separate interviews that their members had been sensitised to respect the laws on standards and subject themselves to conformity assessment to help make them competitive and restore trust in the Ghanaian trading space.
Mr Obeng said in the past, when traders were not conversant with the activities of the GSA, many resorted to unconventional ways of conducting their businesses but gradually, through the engagements of the GSA, many of them had come to terms with insisting on quality.
As a trader of electrical cables himself, Mr Obeng said several discussions on standards had ensued among traders in recent times with many of the traders leaning towards conformity in appreciation of the GSA sensitisation and engagement activities over the past few years.
“In the past, I used to defend cable importers just to protect the business but now that we all want to insist on quality to help boost our economy, nobody will plead for anyone who brings in substandard products because they are destroying the economy,” he said.
He urged the GSA to expand its enforcement drive across the country and monitor importers who continued to smuggle substandard products into the country through the eastern corridor and unapproved routes in the area.
“The only thing that will ensure quality is standards and the only way to ensure standards is through tough enforcement of the standards,” Mr Obeng said.
Move beyond education
While educating the trading public on standards and their duty to consumers was a good component of the GSA sensitisation drive, Mr Opoku said it was time to move beyond lectures and strictly enforce the laws on standards.
For him, the GSA had dedicated ample time to educate the public on the laws on standards and the responsibilities of traders to source their goods from approved manufacturers.
What is left, Mr Opoku said, was the enforcement of standards without consideration or interference from politicians and high level government appointees.
“You have the power to enforce the laws without fear or favour and we will be watching you to ensure that you do your work. But you can be assured that we will support you and would not allow others to interfere in your work once you enforce the laws without discrimination,” Mr Opoku said.
Involving officials of the GSA and the Ghana Police Service, the standards enforcement activities have seen the confiscation of substandard products waiting for destruction.
So far there have been raids on illegal cable manufacturers and illegal chemical producers at different locations around the capital city.
With the passage of the Ghana Standards Authority Act, 2022 (Act 1076), last year, the authority has the responsibility for the creation and promulgation of standards, its enforcement and regulatory activities in respect of weights and measurements in the country.
The Director General of the GSA, Professor Alex Dodoo, told the Daily Graphic that standards were not meaningful, if they were not enforced.
He said the enforcement of standards in Ghana would serve as a guide for other African countries to build robust standards regimes to facilitate smooth trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has its secretariat located in Accra.
“In order to ensure that the populace adhere to standards, especially in the built environment, we have to enhance our long-standing partnership by collaborating effectively in educating the public about the standards and enforcing them,” he said.