The Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme (G-CAP) and its requirement of Certificate of Conformity, which was scheduled to be implemented by Ghana Standards Authority from October 1, this year has been suspended for further consultations.
This was the outcome of a crunch meeting that was organised by the Ghana Standards Authority and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry to engage stakeholders in trade and industry in Ghana.
The meeting was attended by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Spare Parts Dealers Association, Automobile Dealers Association and the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association at Parliament House.
Mr George Kweku Ofori, President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), who spoke in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after their closed-door meeting, said the implementation of the G-CAP would become inimical to trade in the country.
He said already, Destination Inspection Companies, such as Societe Generale Surveillance (SGS) and other mandated bodies had replaced pre-shipping years ago and therefore re-introducing pre-shipping inspection would duplicate the work of the existing system.
“We do not have any problem if the G-CAP is coming to replace the existing system, but we will have a lot of problems if the two will be allowed to work alongside, because it will amount to duplication in the system,” the GUTA President told the GNA.
He said already there had been new tariffs that were introduced by the Food and Drugs Authority that were granted by the Finance and Trade Select Committees of Parliament without consultations with the stakeholders, adding that, “if we allow the G-CAP to be implemented it will stifle trade and industry.”
A member of FABAG who preferred anonymity told the GNA that the redefinition of the roles of the Ghana Standards Authority and the Food and Drugs Board would help trade and industry, as their current duplication roles pertaining to importation was a serious challenge to business.
He said :”The FDA is just proposing a $20,000 pre-inspection fee on bulk importers of rice, sugar, fish, meat product, tomato etc … And now the GSA is also proposing to do same because their sister office the FDA is implementing a policy, which none of the importers has complained of.”
The Member wondered why the GSA was trying to re-introduce the policy that was replaced by GC-Net 24 years ago, adding that, “Countries in the Eastern part of Africa has the same practice, but do not run concurrently with other agencies as standards and food administrations.”
If implemented, the G-CAP would empower companies such as SGS to inspect and certify all product imports, whilst the importer would be mandated to declare its intention to GSA to import and have a certificate of conformance issued before importation.
Upon arrival of the goods, importers would go through the same process to define if the products conform with the Quality Standards set by the GSA.
Mr Kwamina Deymes, an importer, told the GNA that it was a duplication that was meant to impoverish importers since at all levels they were supposed to pay for the services.
“Why should the SGS write to us and not the GSA and why didn’t they notify and consult importers from the beginning, my brother I believe there is something underneath,” he added.
Meanwhile the GSA has been tasked to hold more consultations to ensure that the repercussions of the implementation of the G-CAP were not inimical to trade and industry.