Business News of 2014-04-15

45 containers of used fridges seized at Tema harbour

The government yesterday seized 45 containers of imported used refrigerators at the Tema Harbour in an intensified effort to clamp down on the importation of banned electrical appliances.

The about 5,000 pieces of used refrigerators packed in 45 containers are being hauled to sites at Afienya, Kwabenya and Pokuase, where workers of two waste management companies are busily dismantling the seized items.

During a visit to Afienya yesterday, the Daily Graphic learnt that 2,382 used refrigerators had been sent to the dismantling site in the past one month, out of which 1,861 had been reduced to scrap in a move to enforce the law banning the importation of those items.

The presence of the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Joe Oteng-Agyei, and the Deputy Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Mr John Jinapor, at the Tema Harbour for an inspection of the seized used refrigerators underlines the government’s commitment to deal with the issue.

“We want to assure Ghanaians that this is not a camouflage. We are determined to implement the law,” Mr Jinapor said.

Dismantling process

Presank Company Limited and City Waste Management Limited have been contracted for the dismantling of the used refrigerators seized from importers and those exchanged under the government’s rebate scheme.

After dismantling the electrical gadgets, the waste management companies sort out the cylinders for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dispose of them and sell the scrap to offset the cost of dismantling.

There were concerns that some of the refrigerators might find their way onto the markets, but Dr Oteng-Agyei gave an assurance that adequate security measures had been put in place to forestall that occurrence.

What the law says

The Energy Efficiency (Prohibition of Manufacture, Sale or Importation of Incandescent Filament Lamp, Used Refrigerator, Used Refrigerator-freezer, Used Freezer and Air-conditioner) Regulations, 2008 (LI 1932) prohibits the importation of used refrigerators and similar electrical gadgets.

After the passage of the law in 2008, a two-year moratorium was given for its implementation but in 2010, when the time was due to enforce the law, importers of refrigerator products were said to have requested for more time.

The government obliged their request and extended the moratorium for another two years, and after the expiration of the grace period in 2012, it has resolved to implement the law to the letter.

Some importers are said to be outwitting the law by declaring the used refrigerators they import as personal items or by concealing them in other imported items.

Dr Oteng-Agyei expressed concern over those practices, saying it was unfair to bring banned electrical gadgets into the country.

Need for energy conservation

Apart from enforcing the law, the Energy Commission (EC), which is spearheading the government’s drive, is also encouraging Ghanaians to trade off their old refrigerators for new energy- efficient ones under the pilot refrigerator rebate scheme which offers owners of old refrigerators GH¢200 as rebate to exchange them for new energy efficient refrigerators.

That offer comes with a reward of conserving energy and reducing electricity bills.

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