Trading Inspectors commissioned to enforce standards
More than 300 trading standards inspectors (TSIs) have been commissioned into the country's standards regulation regime in a bid to curb the proliferation of fake brands and to promote ethical trading practices.
The 311 uniformed inspectors will conduct market surveillance and other activities to ensure that only authentic products are traded in the country.
They were commissioned by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, at a ceremony at the Detective Training Academy of the Ghana Police Depot in Accra yesterday.
This move is a first for the country, and is expected to inject sanity into the trading of goods.
Mrs Osei-Opare said the first batch of the inspectors would be the springboard for the enforcement of trading standards in the country.
She said the government was particularly delighted about the progress made towards the commissioning of Ghana’s first batch of trading standards inspectors.
She, however, expressed concern that research had shown that enforcement of standards in most developing countries was fraught with systemic challenges due to the high number of informal sector players.
“Managing this challenge demands strategic human resource deployment to break the ‘business-as-usual’ approach.
“As a nation committed to transforming our national economy from agriculture and export of raw produce to value addition through manufacturing and rapid industrialisation, we cannot turn a blind eye to these challenges, but to act and act properly now,” she said.
Mrs Osei-Opare explained that in 2022, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave Presidential Assent to the Ghana Standards Authority Act 1078 after it was approved by Parliament in June 2022 to provide the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) the mandate to ensure consumer protection, undertake testing and certification of goods, services, processes, specimens, systems and practices to ensure that they met acceptable national standards.
The act, she said, also mandated the Ghana Standards Authority to appoint inspectors for any specific purpose under the act.
“As a government, our goal is to support the private sector to continuously be the engine of growth for the economy, and this requires a level playing field for all players and for all products, be they locally manufactured or imported,” the Chief of Staff said.
The inspectors, who would be working under the command of the leadership of the GSA, have undergone weeks of rigorous law enforcement training at the Ghana Police Service Training School in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
Their law enforcement training is to enable them to effectively ensure that businesses adhere to ethical practices to safeguard the interests of both consumers and enterprises.
Their role is pivotal in upholding fair competition, preventing fraud and maintaining high-quality products, and services nationwide.
The Director-General of the GSA, Professor Alex Dodoo, said the standards inspectors would be posted to various trading posts in the country from next week to conduct routine checks or investigate complaints on local traders and businesses.
"For example, they will take samples of goods for testing, check the accuracy of weighing scales and measures such as for beer and spirits in pubs and clubs, and make sure labelling is correct and advertising is not misleading," he said.
Prof. Dodoo, who is the custodian of weight and measurement in the country, added that the signs of improvement in terms of trade in standard goods and services would begin to show for the benefit of the country and position Ghana as a destination for fair trade.
The Board Chairman of the GSA, Professor F.C. Mills-Robertson, encouraged the trading community to embrace the inspectors and give them the support needed to help them to execute their mandate for the economic and social well-being of the nation.
He said the presence of the inspectors should not intimidate traders engaged in proper business practices.
Rather, he said it should ensure conformity to standards and scare those engaged in the trading of substandard goods.
“To the business community, I encourage you to embrace the presence of the inspectors as a catalyst for growth and credibility,” Prof. Mills-Robertson said.
He added that by complying with standards, traders would not only protect the rights and well-being of customers, but also enhance the reputation of their enterprises.