Parliament’s Select Committee on Trade and Industry has chided the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) for its failure to discharge its enforcement responsibility.
The committee observed that the authority, which is the only statutory body mandated to do standardisation, metrology and conformity assessment, has reneged its functions and had as a result, allowed other agencies to take over those responsibilities.
The accusation was contained in the committee’s report on the 2018 budget estimates of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Subsequently, the committee has directed the mother ministry of the GSA, to take immediate steps to review the existing laws of the authority to strengthen its roles and responsibilities, as well as its enforcement procedures.
On some of the achievements of the authority in 2017, the committee noted that the GSA undertook its first-ever certification of pure gold which coincided with the establishment of the Gold Coast Refinery in Accra.
The authority also developed the Ghana standards for standard gold and purified gold, both of which were in line with international gold standards.
To address issues relating to standardisation and conformity assessment, the authority verified the weighing and measuring devices used for trading purposes.
These included 1,384 trading scales, 41.192 motorised pumps and accessories, 225 weigh bridges, and 3,188 cocoa scales and test weights.
Outlook for 2018
Commenting on the way forward, the authority told the committee that it intended to expand its operations to include quality evaluation of petroleum products imported into the country.
It also wanted to provide metering equipment for the oil and gas industry, the absence of which was causing a huge revenue loss to the state.
The committee also urged the ministry to take steps to strengthen the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to enable it to perform its mandate effectively.
It said the staff strength of the institution was low as over 66 districts of the board had no staff, a situation it said was hampering productivity.
It, therefore, urged the ministry to meet the Ministry of Finance to address this challenge.
The committee also noted with satisfaction that the Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Services (GRATIS) had successfully completed the photocopying and transfer of technology of the vegetable and fruit-washing equipment for pack houses under the Northern Rural Growth Programme.
It was happy that there had been purchase and rehabilitation of vehicles across the GRATIS network which had enhanced the purchase of raw materials for production and after-sales services for customers to whom the equipment had been supplied.
It recommended that funds be made available by the ministry to enable the GRATIS foundation meet the high cost of maintenance and the replacement of broken down equipment.
Ghana Trade Fair Authority
With regards to the Ghana Trade Fair Authority, the committee expressed concern about the state of the Ghana Trade fair facility.
It was of the view that capital was needed to revive the operations of the authority.
It, therefore, urged the ministry to meet the board of the authority to come up with a model to partner a private investor to improve the operations of the company.—GB