TAGG Takes Steps To Address Challenges Faced By Importers Of Diapers And Toiletries In Ghana

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Nana Poku – Tagg General Secretary Speaking Tagg President Left
Nana Poku – Tagg General Secretary Speaking Tagg President Left

The leadership of the Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG) has taken steps to address the seeming impasse between importers of diapers and toiletries and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

According to TAGG, they have received several reports of some unwarranted treatment reportedly being facilitated by the FDA against importers of diapers and toiletries which is hindering the smooth importation of these products into the country.

In a Press Release signed by the Executives of TAGG, they averred that importers are facing notable financial losses that significantly impact their usual investment activities in this sector; hence efforts to help address this pressing matter.

They stated that specific recommendations have been formulated for traders who engage in the importation of goods associated with food and pharmaceutical products.

They said, FDA’s regulatory oversight that ensures that the diapers are registered prior to importation is to guarantee that these diapers are safe, of the required quality and would not pose harm or danger to the babies and children on whom they are used Poor quality diapers are a source of infection and other health hazards to babies as they contain some compounds that may be risky for children’s health.

“Traders are strongly advised to liaise directly with FDA to initiate registration processes including testing of products to make sure they are safe and of the right quality. Entrusting third-party agents with comprehensive oversight may pose financial risks, and traders themselves need to fully understand and adhere to the regulatory frameworks established within the country.”

According to TAGG, adherence to regulatory mechanisms, particularly concerning FDA-specific goods that require official permit and approvals for importation is critical and traders must exercise due diligence to safeguard their financial interests.

According to the Press Release, the prevalent challenges within our nation can be ascribed to a lack of awareness and education among stakeholders and the pertinent authorities, including the Ghana Standards Authority and the FDA, should improve on their educating the public regarding the stipulated guidelines and restrictions.

“Consequently, traders are advised to directly engage with these regulatory bodies for guidance and support before initiating any import transactions to mitigate potential financial vulnerabilities. These institutions will provide comprehensive guidance to minimize financial exposures and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.”

TAGG touched on some specific information that is critical to help importers understand the issues and appreciate the relationship they have with the FDA as far as regulatory mechanisms are concerned.

It said: “Diapers as a Public Health Concern.
Diapers are regulated to protect infants, one of the most vulnerable in society.
• Regulation ensures that diapers meet specific standards for absorbency, material safety, and construction, which are essential for preventing leaks and maintaining hygiene.
• Without regulation, diapers may not be designed to prevent moisture buildup, leading to a higher incidence of diaper rash and discomfort.
• Unregulated diapers may contain harmful chemicals like dioxins, formaldehyde, and other irritants that can pose health risks to infants.
• Continuous exposure to chemicals found in some unregulated diapers can lead to more serious health issues, including endocrine, metabolic, and immunological problems.
Laboratory Analysis/Evaluation
• All materials used for baby diapers are tested by the Authority during the product registration process. This ensures that any dyes, skin irritants or toxins are absent so as not to cause harm to babies.
• Handling of bale diapers frequently repacked and re-labelled under insanitary conditions can cause germs to enter the genital region of a child, especially a girl child further posing great danger to their health and well-being
Enforcement and Public Education
• After the registration and grant of marketing authorization of regulated products, including diapers, the FDA routinely conducts nationwide surveillance, and samples are collected at the point of sale for laboratory testing to ensure compliance with standards, thereby safeguarding public health and safety.
• To complement surveillance activities, regular public education initiatives on the manufacturing, importation, sale, and usage of regulated products are carried out to raise awareness among the public about the risks associated with using unregistered products.
The FDA’s Registration Process
● The FDA has an open and transparent registration process. Information on the process of registration is available at all its Client Service Units in all the regional offices and at the Tema Office
● The FDA website has comprehensive information on the registration requirements, processes and fees.
● The FDA has a Progressive Licensing Scheme that assists small scale businesses to progressively meet the requisite standards for their products.
● There is also a fast tract provision for those who wish to use that route.”

TAGG also mentioned that import activities into the country are closely monitored and regulated to prevent potential financial setbacks resulting from non-compliance with regulatory protocols set forth by the FDA to protect public health and safety of the citizens of Ghana and any deviation from these regulations could lead to the risk of unauthorized products being confiscated.

“Therefore, adherence to standardized procedures is paramount. Traders and importers must themselves engage with the FDA to ensure compliance with the requisite standards and payments obligations prior to importing any merchandise.”

It said the FDA has assured them that its offices nationwide are accessible to all its clients and have put in initiatives like the Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) that facilitates the registration of all its regulated products using fast track services for those who desire these channels for registration.

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