General News Wed, 20 May 2009

Ghanaians reject weighing scales - Pilot project reveals

Accra, May 20, GNA - Three attempts to introduce weighing scales for better commerce and trade in the markets have been rejected by sellers and buyers.

The introduction, which was undertaken on pilot basis by the management of Ghana Standards Boards (GSB) and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in some selected markets across the country, had almost all the weighing scales either thrown away or destroyed. Mr Eric Acheampong, Acting Director of Metrology Division of GSB made this known at this year's launching of World Metrology Day, the sixth in the series in Accra which is under the theme: "Measurement in Commerce".

He noted that the exercise was to enable Ghana meet the international standards and compete with other neighbouring countries, which also used weights and measures.

Mr Acheampong explained that monitoring of the exercise at Agbogbloshie and Makola markets in Accra as well as others in Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale revealed that people preferred the use of traditional measuring cans popularly known as "Olonka" for measuring cereals and grains and bottles for measuring oils.

"Countries such as Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and other francophone countries have a strict law and ensure that weighing scales are used at the markets and for every trade and failure to do so is punishable by law," he said.

Mr Acheampong explained that GSB's Weights and Measures Decree 1975, NRCD 326, which gave the Board the mandate and authority to undertake weight and measures administration was under review and that would include punitive measures should anyone violate that law. "Currently, the sanctions are outmoded and non punitive and the reviewed law will prescribe a stiffer punishment and payment of huge sums of money and that we believe when implemented will force people to adhere to the law," he added.

He attributed the failure of the use of weighing scales to lack of sensitisation and public education and called for intensified education on the project.

Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Industry commended management of GSB for the commitment in ensuring and maintaining standards and called on corporate companies who were beneficiaries of GSB's services to support the Board "in addition to what government is doing so it can improve its laboratory services".

She noted that the proposed metrology institute would soon be established to ensure quality infrastructure and avoid duplication of work.

The Trade Minister who read a message from Director of World Metrology Organisation, Professor Andrew J. Wallard said a decade of success and a bright future was a time of source of pleasure and continuing challenge with trade and measurement becoming inextricably combined.

"Our early successes were in physics and engineering, in manufactured products and in stimulating innovation and competitively produced goods, "he said.

Mrs Kistina Biritwum, Acting Director of GSB said metrology; the science of measurement was very crucial to all deliberations of life, since modern world depended on consistent, accurate measurement in all aspects.

"As partners in development, GSB seeks to intensify its level of collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that together we succeed in achieving the goals of national development," she added.
Source: GNA