Home Business Chief of Staff advises Trading Standards Inspectors to be honest and professional

Chief of Staff advises Trading Standards Inspectors to be honest and professional

Economics Trading Inspectors
Economics Trading Inspectors

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) on Monday commissioned 311 Trading Standards Inspectors (TSIs) with a call on them to exhibit integrity, professionalism, and dedication to duty.

The Trading Standards Inspectors will be responsible for checking the quality of goods and services on the market.

The Inspectors are made up of 114 females and 197 males.

Mrs Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff, speaking at the commissioning of TSIs, said they would collect samples for testing, gather evidence for prosecution, and sometimes undertake undercover work to collect evidence for prosecution. 

He said some of them would be trained further to become inspectors of Weights and Measures, where they would check all weighing and measuring instruments to ensure that consumers are not cheated.

Trading Standards Inspectors, who went through a rigorous two-week residential training programme will check fuel pumps, electricity meters, water meters and weighing scales to ensure that they are accurate thereby ensuring fairness in trade.

She said they would handle and investigate consumer complaints and provide public education and sensitisation on the laws and regulations for trade in Ghana.

She said research had shown that enforcement of trading standards in most developing countries were 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,” she said.

Mrs Osei-Opare said as a nation committed to transforming the 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.”

The Chief of Staff said it was against this background that Cabinet in April 2022 gave approval to Ghana’s first ever National Quality Policy.

The primary objective of the Policy is to ensure that goods and services emanating from or traded in Ghana are designed, manufactured, and supplied in a manner that match the needs, expectations, and requirements of the consumers as well as those of the regulatory authorities. 

She said effective implementation of the National Quality Policy would not only raise the quality consciousness amongst suppliers and consumers but also allow the government to maintain a quality culture among the public. 

She said in 2022, the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also gave Presidential Assent to the GSA Act 1078 after it was approved by Parliament in June 2022.

This Act has been designed to provide the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the mandate to ensure consumer protection, undertake testing and certification of goods, services, processes, specimens, systems, and practices to ensure that they meet acceptable national standards.

“It also mandates the Ghana Standards Authority to appoint inspectors for any specific purpose under the Act,” she said. 

The Chief of Staff said as a government, their goal was to support the private sector to continuously be the engine of growth for the economy.

She said this required a level playing field for all players and for all products, be they locally manufactured or imported. 

“The only way to ensure this is to intensify our market surveillance and also apply sanctions to defaulting companies and individuals. 

She said the government was very keen on providing all the necessary protection to Ghanaian consumers and local manufacturers, hence, the introduction of Ghana’s first ever Trading Standards Inspectors.

The Chief of Staff commended the Board and Management of GSA for highly implementing this important provision in the GSA Act.

Professor F. C. Mills-Robertson, Board Chairman of GSA, said over the years, Ghana had witnessed remarkable growth in its commercial landscape, with businesses flourishing and new ventures emerging. 

He, however, said alongside this progress, the need for stringent regulations and reliable standards had become paramount.

He said establishing the TSIs was a testament to the Authority’s commitment to fostering an environment of trust, transparency, and integrity in the marketplace.

“These dedicated professionals have undergone rigorous law enforcement training and possess the expertise to ensure that businesses adhere to ethical practices, safeguarding the interests of both consumers and enterprises,” he added. 

He said their role would be pivotal in upholding fair competition, preventing fraud, and maintaining high-quality products and services nationwide.

Prof Alex Dodoo, the Director-General of GSA commended the government for giving the Authority an Act to work with, which clearly stated the role of inspectors.

He said it was to ensure fairness in trading and to ensure that consumers have value for their money and expressed the hope that the establishment of the Inspectors would aid in trade facilitation.

He said the GSA Act 1078 made room for the appointment of trading inspectors and inspectors for weighing and measuring, adding that at least 10 each of the inspectors would be deployed to all the regions.

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