Mr Sampson Awingobit Asaki, Executive Secretary, Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency that the public lacked knowledge on the CoC, therefore, the October One date for its implementation should be pushed back.
A CoC is the document issued as evidence of compliance of shipment to the relevant internationally approved standards.
Mr Asaki observed that some local importers were confused about the CoC and were apprehensive about the GSA’s intentions due to the limited information available to them.
He said they considered the issuance of the CoC by the GSA as a duplication of Food and Drugs Authority’s (FDA) procedure of inspection of goods.
He asked why GSA could not liaise with their colleagues at the FDA to carry out one standard inspection instead of embarking on different inspections at the expense of the importer.
The Executive Secretary complained that importers paid as much as 20,000 US dollars to enable FDA officials to travel to the exporting countries to ensure safety and standards of goods imported to Ghana.
According to him, unofficial information being circulated suggested that 300 US dollars would be charged for the issuance of CoC.
However, importers were unsure whether a CoC would cover all the products a company imported or only one product at a time.
Mr Asaki, therefore, implored Parliament to consider reviewing the duplication of duties among agencies operating at the port when a bill is laid before them for the introduction of new policies to govern imports and export regimes.
Meanwhile, a notice posted on GSA website on August 29, 2014, states that “shipments performed as from 1st October 2014 will have to present a Certificate of Conformity for customs clearance: shipment performed as from October 1st, 2014 and arriving without a CoC will be subject to a penalty”.
The statement said the objective of the CoC is to ensure quality of products, and the health, safety, and environmental protection of Ghanaian consumers.
It is also to prevent the importation of unsafe, sub-standard and / or counterfeit goods.
International law requires goods to undergo verification processes, which include physical inspection, laboratory testing, factory audit and documentary verification to obtain evidence that all requirements are met in applicable standards or technical requirement.