The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) must be empowered to destroy fake products after seizing them, Professor Alex Dodoo, Executive Director of the GSA), has urged.
He has, therefore, appealed to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Tourism to grant the authority the powers to destroy all sub-standard products it seizes from the market.
Prof Dodoo made the appeal during a meeting between the GSA and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Tourism in Accra last Friday.
The meeting which was held under the behest of the GSA was to make a case for the Authority to be given the permission to destroy sub-standard products confiscated from the market.
Prof Dodoo expressed worry over the influx of sub-standard products on the Ghanaian market, stressing that more than 60 per cent of products fail all the critical parameters in terms of standards.
According to him, the situation was not only worrying but had reached crisis level, as a result there was an urgent need for some drastic measures to be adopted in order to stem the tide.
“In August last year, we conducted a market surveillance survey and what we saw was quite alarming so we decided once again that we will do same for this year, and in August 2018, we embarked on same and it will shock you to know that more than 60 per cent of electrical products we sampled failed all the critical parameters in terms of standards,” he emphasised.
According to Prof. Dodoo, even though the Standards Act of 1973 empowered the Authority to prohibit the sale or manufacturing of sub-standard goods in the interest of the nation, it fell short of giving it the powers to destroy such products when seized from either the manufacturers or importers.
“I think there are two things that we just want to highlight. The first is that the GSA asked for this meeting because we are worried about the state of our markets and to put it bluntly we need your help to be able to tackle the situation,” he added.
He said the Authority lacked the capacity to keep all sub-standard items likely to be confiscated from the market, since their warehouse could not contain all, stressing that, “If we are to seize everything we find on the market, we will have no space to store and it will become a problem for us.”
Highlighting the seriousness of the situation, Prof Dodoo explained that out of the 204 products surveyed on the market, only four per cent actually passed the standard test and this gave a course for concern.
He said more than 80 per cent of domestic fire outbreaks in the country were as a result of such substandard electrical gadgets on the market, and if the situation could be brought under control, most of these fires could be avoided.
Prof Dodoo also appealed to the committee to grant the GSA the permission to be able to test the standards of all buildings in the country including both public and private buildings.
These, according to him, was to get the country prepared in the event of an earthquake which experts had warned that it could occur in the country.
On his part the ranking member of the committee, Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, expressed his gratitude to the GSA for drawing the attention of the committee to the magnitude of the situation.
He, however, noted that the mere passage of a law would not be the antidote to the menace, stressing that, “We all know enforcement is our problem.”
Mr. Kwetey said the committee would support the GSA in whatever way appropriate to enhance their operations in order to sanitise the system.
By Cliff Ekuful