Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry, has tasked Ghanaians to work assiduously towards a society that recognizes, embraces and rewards quality.
“We need to agree as a nation to go in a direction defined by standards and quality, therefore, this calls for instituting and implementing a common system of measurement nationwide, deciding to engage in efficient production and use of conformity assessment as the basis for measuring progress,” he stated.
The project is being financed by the European Union (EU) with €12 million and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The aim of the programme is to establish a suitable quality infrastructure and national quality policy for consumer health and environmental protection, the improvement of private sector competitiveness and trade facilitation.
He said these elements together form the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI), noting that, an effective and coherent NQI, is one that is established on internationally accepted best practices, which derives its strength from the synergistic operation of all the critical elements of quality.
“The NQI must be established to operate in a manner that promotes the production of goods and services, which will consistently meet all necessary technical requirements to be safe and suitable for use.
“Given the increasing globalization trade, a strong and credible national quality system is critical to the international trade process, because it can ensure that imports and domestically-produced and goods meet international standards”.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said the failure to comply with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreements on technical barriers to trade, including sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures can constitute a technical barrier to trade.
He commended the European Union and UNIDO for coming up with the Programme.
Mr Ignacio Burrull, the Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Ghana, said “quality is key to ensure consumers’ protection, and in Europe, this is of particular importance because our consumers demand that products are safe, do not compromise their health and do not cause environmental harm.”
Mr Burrull said the EU was contributing to improving a national quality infrastructure through trade related assistance and quality enabling programmes.
Dr George Ben Crentsil, the Executive Director of the Ghana Standards Authority, said among the achievements recorded under the Phases one and two of the programme, were Regional Quality Policy, which led to the adoption of some National Quality Policies; establishment of a Regional Quality Infrastructure Scheme; and accreditation of some testing/calibration laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025.
He asked business organisations to harmonise, to cut compliance costs and simplify the process of meeting requirements, as well as reduce complexity for those tasked with testing and auditing standards compliance.