The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in collaboration with the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) has organized a day’s sensitization and evaluation forum for importers and clearing agents on the implementation of the import permit application.
The forum was on the topic: “The role of FDA-Addressing import permit Application Challenges to Facilitate Trade.”
Madam Akua Amartey, FDA Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Technical Operation said it was important that state institutions such as the FDA and the GSA interacted with players within the regulated sector to bring players’ attention to changes embarked upon, and to be abreast with issues players grapple with.
She said FDA had engaged stakeholders through a session and commenced the enforcement of the prohibition of the importation of unregistered regulated products, popularly known as ‘No Registration, No Importation.’
She said the forum allowed the Authority to inform the stakeholders on the enforcement during the one-year implementation while bringing to their attention new structures to facilitate trade and improve the ease of doing business with the FDA.
She said the new structures, which bordered on making registration and permit issuance a lot easier to comply with, were intended to increase compliance and help to protect the health and safety of the Ghanaian consumer.
She said that the FDA was taking steps to facilitate trade and expected the stakeholders to comply with the Public Health Act and the Authority’s guidelines regarding the registration and importation or exportation of regulated products.
This, she said, was important in ensuring a solution where everyone benefits.
Mr Charles Darling Sey, GSA Tema Branch Manager said the Authority’s mandate among others was to ensure the safe delivery of cargo, resolution of recurrent shipment problems, and ensure that charges paid at the Ports are commensurate with the services rendered.
He said in executing its mandate one of the GSA’s key strategies was to foster collaborations with institutions and stakeholders to address shipper-related issues to enhance the nation’s trade facilitation effort to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He said the forum was one of such collaborations, the FDA needed support to execute its mandate of enforcing standards for food, drugs, cosmetics, household chemicals, medical supplies, biological products, tobacco, and substances of abuse to protect imports and exports.
Mr Sey said the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that non-tariff barriers (NTBs) were at least three times more restrictive than regular customs duties, adding that a UNCTAD report suggested that African countries could gain US$ 20 billion in GDP growth by tackling such barriers at the continental level.
He expressed the belief that one sure way to remove NTBs was the sustained awareness creation targeting specific groups and entities and the willingness of state agencies to assist the groups without any form of solicitation and appellate application process to give preferential exclusion in any form.
He added that the AFCFTA agreement, among others, was dedicated to eliminating non-tariff barriers, adding that the ‘non-tariff barriers protocols mandated participating parties to identify, categorize and eliminate non-tariff barriers