Business News of Mon, 31 Aug 20152

Trade Ministry works on consumer protection policy

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Mr Murtala Mohammed, has announced that the ministry is working on a consumer protection policy document aimed at protecting the interest of consumers.

He said the move was a follow-up to the inauguration of a committee to promote made–in Ghana products, indicating a consciousness of the need to promote goods produced locally.

Speaking at a forum in Accra on Standardisation and Technical Regulation, he said while the government urged Ghanaians to produce more, it was equally concerned about the safety, quality and standards of the goods that were produced.

“That is why inasmuch as we encourage the people of this country to buy made-in-Ghana goods, we also encourage producers and manufacturers to be concerned about the quality of the goods they produce. You cannot increase exports and make your goods attractive to consumers outside the country if within your country people do not have confidence in your products,” he said.

He said standards were demanded to protect the lives of the people, avoid loss of capital and protect the image of the country.

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He challenged all stakeholders, especially the media, to play a leading role in sensitising people to standard products.

“It’s the vision of the quality division of the trade ministry to promote a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) among stakeholders, including the grassroots in order to appreciate better style of work,” he said.

As the NQI constitutes a whole network of actors rather than single institutions, he said there was the need to improve coordination between various national and international authorities.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry organised the forum to inform and update the government, ministries, departments and agencies and the private sector on the developments on NQI.

It was also to streamline the development and application of technical regulation as part of the NQI and promote awareness of technical and regulatory framework vis-a-vis administrative procedures.

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A representative of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Mr Macmillan Prentice, said ECOWAS Commission was investing in standards harmonistion to be able to facilitate cross; border trade.

He said many of the states within the sub-region had individual standards for so many products, thus, the move to bring them together.

“There is huge volume of trade between us and Europe but then between us in the region, it’s low. So as part of this process, standard is one part so if we can harmonise that, then it will be a good start,” he said.

Trade relations between Africa and Europe is currently estimated to be over 80 per cent while intra trade in Africa is only 12 per cent.

Touching on international standards, Mr Prentice said the International Standards Organisation (ISO), established in 1946, was the body producing the largest standards.

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