Accra, July 19, GNA – Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (MoTI), has said that government was working on establishing a National Quality Council.
He said such a Council would be made up of representatives of key ministries, departments and agencies, as well as the private sector to implement the National Quality Policy (NQP) and to coordinate the activities of institutions that oversee quality related activities, ensuring that health and safety of individuals and the environment were protected.
Mr Ahenkorah made the disclosure on Wednesday in his opening remarks at a validation workshop of the National Quality Policy of Ghana in Accra.
The two-day workshop seeks to corroborate the NQP, which had been under preparation some months ago and to further the course of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI).
The two-day validation workshop, which is being organised by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to review the draft NQP is being attended by over 70 key stakeholders drawn from industry, academia, the private and the public sector.
The current draft NQP developed by MoTI with the support of the TRAQUE Programme had been review and aligned to the ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL).
The quality policy of the ECOQUAL was adopted by the Conference of Heads of States and Governments of ECOWAS on February 28, 2013.
The West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP) Phase Three is being funded by the European Union with an amount of â‚¬ 12 million and is supporting Ghana with the development of its Quality Policy and to ensure it is aligned with the ECOQUAL.
Ghana is the only country in the ECOWAS sub-region without a NQP; hence the NQP of Ghana aims to develop an effective, efficient and globally recognised NQI.
The final NQP of Ghana is expected to drive the establishment/strengthening, operation and maintenance of the NQI that would adequately protect public health and safety, and facilitate intra and inter-regional trade.
The overall objective of the NQP is to improve the international competitiveness of Ghana, and lead to enhanced export performance, whilst at the same time protecting Ghana’s consumers and environment from counterfeit and unsafe products.
The draft policy document had five thematic areas: standardisation, technical regulations, metrology (the science of measurements), conformity assessment and accreditation.
Mr Ahenkorah said the creation of an effective, efficient and globally recognised NQI requires the development of a Quality Policy, which recognises the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders.
‘It will also promote exports and accelerate economic development with respect to protecting the health and safety of individuals and the environment,’ he said.
He said as markets continue to become globalised, governments were increasingly reconsidering a total overhaul of their quality programmes to compete positively on the international market.
He said developing economies, such as Ghana was confronted with significant challenges in accessing, the markets of developed economies due to substandard and non-compliant products.
He explained that in order to overcome these challenges in accessing the markets of developed economies, developing countries had to demonstrate product or service quality compliance as demanded by their markets and regulatory authorities.
Mr Ahenkorah assured that government would ensure that objectives related to thematic areas of the NQP, which must be implemented in the short term, between two to five years as mentioned in the implementation plan were executed expeditiously.
He mentioned that key among these objectives was the establishment of an accreditation body as well as the execution of the metering systems project for the oil and gas sector.
The Deputy Minister further commended Medlab and Pioneer Food Cannery for winning the ECOWAS Quality Awards.
Professor Alex Dodoo, the Executive Director of the GSA, said the need for a national quality policy is obvious; declaring that ‘no country in the world has made progress in the modern world without having a national quality policy that is well disseminated and effectively implemented’.
‘When well developed and properly implemented, this national quality policy should improve the quality of life of all Ghanaians,’ he added.
By Iddi Yire/Jamila Abubakar, GNA