Cabinet has approved the National Quality Policy to operationalise a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI).
The NQI is a system that spells out how goods and services must be produced to meet acceptable standards by all sectors of the economy, whether private or public.
It will ensure that the production and provision of goods and services meet internationally acceptable quality standards.
Cabinet approved the implementation of the policy at its 28th meeting on Thursday, April 28, this year.
The Head of Public Relations at the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Peter Agbeko, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the policy would guide the implementation of the NQI, the system which also captured the policies, relevant legal and regulatory framework, and practices needed to support and enhance the quality, safety and environmental soundness of goods, services and processes.
Quality infrastructure, he explained, was required for the effective operation of domestic markets and their international recognition to ensure that products from the country were able to access foreign markets.
“The NQI is a critical element in promoting and sustaining economic development, as well as environmental and social wellbeing. It relies on metrology, standardisation, accreditation, conformity assessment and market surveillance,” Mr Agbeko added.
The Head of Public Relations of the GSA explained that the National Quality Policy was an official document adopted at the national level by the highest decision-making body of the government which gave the general vision on quality and technical regulatory issues that were in coherence with the general national policy adopted by regulatory authorities in all sectors of the economy.
The adoption of the policy, Mr Agbeko said, would help authorities to regulate and ensure the supply and usage of standardised goods and services.
“The primary objective of the quality policy is to ensure that goods and services emanating from or traded in Ghana are designed, manufactured and supplied in a manner that matches the needs, expectations and requirements of the purchasers and consumers as well as those of the regulatory authorities in the local and in the export markets,” he said.
Beyond helping regulators to insist on quality, Mr Agbeko said the policy would raise the quality consciousness among suppliers and consumers.
It would also serve as an undertaking by the government to introduce and maintain a quality culture in public life throughout the society, he added.
In the short term, the coming into force of the quality policy would result in the reengineering of the current situation to establish a world-class metrology, standardisation, accreditation, inspection, testing and certification of infrastructure, he stated.
It would also support the application of techniques, practices and service provision in all sectors to demonstrably comply with international standards, the head of public relations said.
“It will, therefore, improve the international competitiveness of the country, leading to enhanced export performance, protection of consumers and the environment from counterfeit and unsafe products,” Mr Agbeko stated.
That in the long run, he explained, would raise the quality of life of the average Ghanaian, while supporting the government’s industrial transformation agenda and other national strategies for increasing exports and enhancing import substitution, improving business regulations and the ease of doing business.
In December last year, the GSA, under the aegis of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, led a stakeholder consultation on the National Quality Policy to help broaden stakeholder understanding of the policy.
Stakeholders included members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Traders Advocacy Group, Ghana (TAGG), regulators such as the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Energy Commission (EC).
Others are Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), representatives from the manufacturing sector and members of academia.
The stakeholders were sensitised to how the plan would prioritise the development of quality trade infrastructure in the country and how it would help businesses leverage it and take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).