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SMEs without certification could lose out on ACFTA benefits – Trade Ministry warns

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is warning of the possibility of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) without Ghana Standards Authority’s certification losing out on the African Continental Free Trade Area deals.

A Ghana Standards Authority survey reveals fifty (50) percent of local manufacturers delay with certification renewal timelines while others fail to renew.

Director of Bilateral, Multilateral and Regional Integration at the Ministry of Trade, Mickson Opoku, meanwhile cautions defaulting businesses might not be able to compete favourably in the trade area.

“When you want to enter a market, your products will have to meet some basic standards. Standard issues are very central. For every commodity, that is one of the things that consumer protection and acts will always be looking out for.

“It may not be binding. But if you do not meet the market requirement, which includes standards, your products could be rejected. Ghana for example, has a very strong institution which is the Standards Authority. It has a lot of credibility with almost all standards institutions in Africa and Europe,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Mr Opoku wants the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and GSA to step up efforts in SME education to ensure compliance.

“We need to upgrade our laboratories. We have to make sure the education on standards and product quality becomes the central point. With the Ghana Standards Authority, Parliament has approved a quality infrastructure policy that allows them to have that kind of system and structures.

“There are a lot of policies and approvals that allow them to take a lot of actions. I am sure very soon they will be going out strongly on the type of products we find on the shelves. But it is not enough to just go and remove them. It has to start with education,” he revealed.

Source: Ghana News

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