The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) upon announcing the introduction of its EasyPASS Programme early this year, has held a stakeholder's forum to have deliberations on how best the initiative can be fruitful for all parties involved.
Addressing the forum, Professor Alex Dodoo, Director General of the GSA encouraged stakeholders present to share their grievances, opinions and suggestions concerning the programme, as such feedback was necessary for adequate implementation.
He went on to elucidate how beneficial the programme is to importers and the trading public and stressed government's dedication to make goods processing at the various ports as easy and stress-free as much as possible.
"l am here to tell you what we want to do but most importantly to hear from you. The instruction from Jubilee House is very clear. Government wants importers and the trading public to get goods out of our ports in record time. The aim of the Port Efficiency programme is to be sure that the frustration to importers, the delays at the ports is reduced to the barest minimum and that you get your goods out in record time regardless of how you do it, "he explained.
To make this possible, he further revealed that only the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Customs, will be responsible for inspection of goods at the ports.
"Government has said that the number of agencies at the port for the purposes of inspection will be three. Customs, Food and Drugs Authority and GSA. And GSA is supposed to be responsible for all inspections at the port except products regulated by the Food and Drugs Authority," he noted.
Patrons from various sectors, such as members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and Ghana Shippers Authority, were present to offer significant contributions for the improvement and sustainability of the programme.
While some agreed it was a laudable move to help businesses in the country, others had a lot of questions concerning the processes involved in attaining certificates of conformity for their goods.
A brief presentation by Bureau Veritas, the agency appointed by the Authority to carry out the verification process worldwide and to issue the EasyPASS certificate in conformity with the required standards, digested the whole essence of the Programme and its efficiency for importers, exporters and the trading public as well as members of the Ghanaian populace.
Aside from facilitating trade by enhancing smooth operations at the port for import and export dealers, the programme which is mainly about conformity assessment also assures a faster acceptance rate upon arrival at the ports.
Linda Osei-Kyeremanteng, Country Manager, Government Service and International Trade at Bureau Veritas during the presentation mentioned that "EasyPASS is all about conformity assessment which involves assessment of the quality of goods in accordance to national and/or international regulations/standards. EasyPASS helps traders to have easy and fast clearance on arrival. It gives a fast track acceptance on arrival.
She also mentioned that although the Programme which involved conformity assessment based on the approved national standards, was not mandatory, it was a highly recommended choice as it was devoid of the day to day hustle and bustle one may ordinarily encounter at the ports.
Interested exporters and suppliers are expected to contact Bureau Veritas in the country of export.