Accra, Sept. 30, GNA - The Ghana Union of Trader’s Association (GUTA), has called on its members and other collaborators to ignore any future announcement or circular by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), regarding the implementation of the Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme (G-CAP).
They argued that until better consensus is built among all parties involved and properly communicated in a joint communique, the Association would resist any attempt by the GSA to impose a legislation which could have negative repercussions on consumers.
Mr George Kwaku Ofori, President of the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, to state GUTA’s position on the G-CAP implementation, said they deemed the defiance and demeanour of the GSA to hastily implement the programme after the Trade Minister advised it be suspended, as unacceptable and rude.
According to him, regardless of the announcement to defer implementation date of the programme from October 1, 2014, to allow for more consultation, education, and explanation of certain pertinent issues, the GSA had gone ahead to propose November this year for its implementation.
He said the Authority had failed to consult extensively with stakeholders, provide deeper education and clarification of certain pertinent issues and expressed disappointed at the approach and the hasty manner with which the GSA was pushing for the implementation of the programme.
According to him, the Association noticed that the launch of the programme was immediately followed with an aggressive publicity, but after a thorough study of the programme, including cost benefit analysis, it had some serious concerns about the manner of implementation, which it petitioned the Minister of Trade and Industry and copied Parliamentary Select Committee among others.
Although the Association lauds the idea of safeguarding standards, quality and conformity to prevent the dumping of inferior goods into the country, it had identified lack of transparency, clarity and fairness and possible duplication of functions in the proposed G-CAP.
Mr Ofori said the Association requests that the New Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies as against the existing Destination Inspection Companies must be clearly defined to avoid duplications or increases in cost of doing business and unnecessary prolonging of import transaction in the country.
He also explained that the G-CAP as it was now, could lead to the collapse of many businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises, whose capital were not much, to be able to pay all the huge import taxes being imposed on them and also pay for services they had contracted.
“As a nation, if we want to revert to the pre-shipment era, them, we should opt out of the current Destination Inspection regime, to save the business community, especially traders from unnecessary bureaucratic processes and procedures, as well as increase cost of doing business”, he said.
He said if the purpose of the G-CAP was to ensure quality and conformity and once the GSA would continue with its monitoring and testing then the only thing to do was to demand certificates of conformance with an internationally accredited standard agency from the manufacturing companies themselves, which could be verified by Authority in case of doubt.
“Here, we would have achieved the same or better objective without necessarily appointing any third party agent, which will definitely impede business and compound the already high cost of doing business in the country.