Parliament Select Committee of Trade, Industry and Tourism, has asked the Ministry of Finance to urgently restore the 15 per cent shares of the 1percent Destination Inspection Levy to the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) without being capped.
According to the Committee, restoration of the 15 per cent levy which was capped by the Finance Ministry in 2016, would enable the Authority to enhance its operations.
The Select Committee made the directives in its Report on the Statement delivered by Hon Ato Panford, Member of Parliament for Shama on the “Challenges of the Imported Sub-standard Electrical Cables, Gadgets and Accessories.”
Inadequate funding to support operation of the GSA has been identified as one of the major operational challenges to curtail the importation of substandard electrical cables and other gadgets into the country.
The 15 percent capping by the government through the Finance Ministry has starved the Authority with funds and negatively affected the operation and enforcement of laws on destination inspections.
In January 2016, an administrative order from the Economic Management Team of the Presidency reduced 15 percent to three per cent, which was further capped to 1.5 percent in line with the Earmarked Funds and Capping Realignment Act 2017 (Act 947), resulting in a reduction of GSA funds to GHC 500,000 per month.
Vice Chairman of the Committee, Mr Ato Panford, who moved the motion to adopt the Report said, the Committee upon hearing all issues recommended to government to wean-off GSA off government subvention and “clothe” it with more legislative powers to impose administrative fines and destroy impounded substandard goods.
He added that, the Committee were convinced that the GSA would be more financially viable if government allows it to retain 85 per cent of its Internally Generated Fund (IGF) without capping after being weaned off.
The motion which was seconded by Deputy Ranking, Sulieman Yusif, was accordingly adopted haven received a unanimous approval of the House as members who contributed called for consolidation of all existing regulations for effective administration of GSA’s mandate.
Should the government implement the recommendation, it would also enable the Authority to gain its financial and administrative autonomy.
The committee finding indicated that between 2003 and August 2015, the thought 15 per cent of the one per cent Destination Inspection Levy on all imports into the country, which translates into an average of $700,000 per month.
Further, the Committee findings revealed that between September and December 2015, the Authority did not receive any monthly allocation.
The Committee observed that the GSA had been weakened by the amendment of the Exports and Import Act, 1995 (Act 503) and by the introduction of the Export and Import Amendment Act 2000, which provides for destination inspection.
The committee also identified collection and disbursement of revenue been handled by the Ghana Revenue Authority, an agency under the Ministry of Finance, as a challenge.
This, the Committee said resulted into the GSA inability to conduct frequent and effective market surveillance, test products prior to exports, procure analytical equipment, equip its labs and expand its scope of services.
He told members of the Parliamentary Press Corps, the GSA in August 2018 undertook an exercise at selected markets in Accra and Kumasi where they sampled some products.
These products were electrical cables, electrical accessories, electrical gadgets, electrical appliances,footwear, bags, dresses, vehicle spare parts, household appliances and accessories among others.
Mr Panford said, among these products, about 90 per cent of them were tested and they failed the critical parameters that had to do with health and safety implications.
He explained that the presence of such sub-standard electrical products circulating on the market posed a high risk of fire outbreak, which could in many ways endanger lives and property.
The Committee, Mr Pamford said was also informed the country do not have a National Hydrocarbon Measurement Standards (NHMS), which could help facilitate a transparent audible process in the transfer of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon products for financial transactions.
As a result, he said the GSA had requested a Public-Private Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the development of the NHMS in Ghana.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba