In a bid to achieve efficiency at Ghana’s sea ports, the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has engaged stakeholders at a forum in Accra to deliberate on how effective the introduction of the EasyPass programme- a conformity assessment technology – will help in fast-tracking the clearance of goods and ensure conformity to standards.
The EasyPASS programme is a facilitation scheme where conformity of regulated imported products is verified before exportation to Ghana.
Although voluntary, the GSA has appointed Bureau Veritas, an internationally recognised service provider, to carry out the verification process worldwide and deliver the EasyPASS certificate in conformity with the standards.
This is expected to ensure that imported products are duly verified before they land at the country’s port.
The Director General of the GSA, Professor Alex Dodoo, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS after the forum on May 14 that his outfit was engaging stakeholders to understand their grievances, opinion and suggestions concerning the implementation of the programme that was rolled out on May 1.
“The government wants importers and the trading public to get goods out of our ports in record time. The aim of the Port Efficiency Programme is ensure that the frustration of importers; delays at the ports are reduced to the barest minimum and that you get your goods out in record time regardless of how you do it, “he said.
He explained that the GSA was the sole organisation mandated to ensure standards at the port, and added that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Customs will assist the GSA in executing the mandate of inspection of goods at the ports.
The forum provided stakeholders, including members of the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA), the opportunity to share anticipated challenges in the implementation of the EasyPASS programme.
GUTA members present at the forum expressed their support for the programme and insisted that it was a laudable move to help businesses in the country, while others had a lot of questions concerning the processes involved in attaining certificates of conformity for their goods.
The President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, however said the association would resist any attempts to frustrate members who decided to stay away from the Easy Pass programme to use the normal system.
He added that GUTA would educate members on the importance of the Certificate of Conformity to ensure that they undertook hassle-free clearance at the ports.
Bureau Veritas capacity
The Country Manager, Government Service and International Trade at Bureau Veritas, Ms Linda Osei-Kyeremanteng, said the programme, which is mainly about conformity assessment, was also a trade facilitation tool as it enhanced smooth operations for the clearance of goods at the port for importers and exporters.
“EasyPASS is all about conformity assessment which involves assessment of the quality of goods in accordance with national and/or international regulations/standards. EasyPASS helps traders to have easy and fast clearance on arrival. It gives a fast-track acceptance on arrival,” she stated.
Ms Kyeremanteng said Bureau Veritas had offices in all the major importing locations in the world, to examine and send GSA the report after examination of goods.
“We have equipment and sophisticated machines to examine these products. Upon arrival in Ghana, there will just be inspection of the certificate,” she added.
According to her, the programme, which involved conformity assessment, was based on the approved national standards and upon satisfactory verification, a certificate of conformity will be issued for the relevant shipment, which should facilitate Customs clearance at the port of destination.—GB