A key factor inhibiting Ghanaian businesses from accessing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is the lack of adherence to standards, the Director General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Prof. Alex Dodoo, has observed.
He expressed concern that ever since the introduction of AGOA in 2000, Ghana had not been able to effectively utilise the benefits from the preferential scheme which had the potential of helping Ghanaian businesses to expand.
Addressing stakeholders in the textile industry in Accra last Friday, Prof. Dodoo gave an assurance that the GSA would support dressmakers and tailors to understand the reasons why measurement was critical in their job to enable them to capture a share of the global market.
“The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) is working with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to get the textile industry to take advantage of the opportunities available to the country under the AGOA to enter the US market,” he said.
Already, Prof. Dodoo said, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has developed a strategic approach that would put businesses in Ghana in a good position to access markets in the US through the AGOA, which had been renewed for another 10 years beginning in 2015 to 2025. The renewal of the AGOA was by an Act of the United States Congress.
The Director General also stated that “the GSA has the capacity to test fabrics to ensure they do not contain banned substances such as dyes as well as ensure that products from the textile industry here in Ghana are accepted in the US and the European markets.”
“The GSA has the competency and skills to produce dress sizes for foreign markets using Ghanaian clothes,” he assured.
The Director General underscored the need for Ghana to have “standards that are measurable to that which applies globally.”
He stated that the GSA was in the process of establishing an equipment hub to help manufacturers meet their needs.
Prof. Dodoo said machines for standard measurements in industry were expensive and as such, the authority would have one installed that would provide accurate measurement for manufacturers and also serve as a one-stop shop for all.
“As the national metrology institute, the GSA has the ability to support the textile industry to develop world-class standards capable of allowing them to sell anywhere in the world,” he said.
The Deputy Director General in charge of Conformity Assessment at the GSA, Mr Charles Amoako, advice industry players to take the issue of standards seriously to enable them to compete effectively in the market.
For his part, the Deputy Director General in charge of Operations at the GSA, Mr Kofi Nagetey, also urged textiles and garment manufacturers to provide standard measurements to enable them compete favourably on the international market.