Friday, April 20, 2018

GSA to implement EasyPASS to check inferior imports

 The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has said it is confident it will by May 1, 2018 implement the EasyPASS programme - a voluntary trade facilitation scheme, aimed at ensuring that products imported into the Ghanaian market are of the required quality standards to protect public health and save the environment.

According to the GSA, Bureau Veritas has been appointed to carry out the verification process worldwide and deliver the EasyPASS certificate in conformity with the standards which will ensure that imported products are verified before they are brought in.

A statement signed by the GSA’s Board Chairman, Dr. Akwasi Achampong, and copied to the B&FT explained that the programme, which is voluntary, implies presentation of the EasyPASS Certificate for fast-track Customs clearance of imported goods - except products regulated by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) - from May 1, 2018. 

The GSA urged the business community to be duly informed that exporters and suppliers will have to contact Bureau Veritas in the country of export. The process involves conformity assessment based on the approved national standards.

Upon satisfactory verification, a certificate of conformity will be issued for the relevant shipment, which should facilitate Customs clearance at the port of destination. 

Speaking to B&FT, the GSA’s Director of Corporate Communications - Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, said all inferior products imported into the country will face rejection upon implementation of the programme.

He said the EasyPass is part of measures being taken to prevent substandard goods from entering the country.
“We want to rid the economy of substandard products, and this is the surest way of preventing substandard products from entering the country’s market.

“We encourage all importers to be part of it to ensure that Ghana becomes a safe place for doing business as far as consumer goods are concerned,” Dr. Amponsah-Bediako said.
He encouraged the business community to take advantage of the programme to facilitate clearing goods from the ports while saving lives.

He added: “The agent – Bureau Veritas – will be at all the major importing locations in the world, to examine and send us the report. They have equipment and sophisticated machines to examine these products. Upon arrival in Ghana, there will just be inspection of the certificate”.

A successful implementation of the EasyPass programme will boost Ghana’s confidence within the international business community.

It is also in accordance with adoption of the trade facilitation measures by the World Trade Organization agreement, which will go a long way to drastically reduce time in the clearance of goods from ports as well as attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Dr. Amponsah-Bediako indicated that there have been positive discussions among stakeholders and sector ministries for their support prior to the implementation.

“We have discussed this programme with the Presidency, sector ministers and all stakeholders, and they have fully agreed. We have the support from all of them. It’s a very good programme, except that with every new thing people find it difficult to comply,” he said.





Expert outlines extractive sector challenges


Poor extractive sector policy implementation, lack of adequate infrastructure, specialised skills and technology are some of the numerous challenges hindering resource-rich developing nations - including Ghana - from transforming their resource wealth into value addition projects, an Australian-based Mining Executive - Mr. Henry Antwi - has outlined.
 
“Developing countries including Ghana continue to face challenges in managing the exploitation of their resources by being unable to transform their resource wealth into value addition projects to promote sustained development and create jobs.”
Mr. Antwi, who is also a Technical and Commercial Advisor for a government-owned mining firm in Oman and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, said this at a lecture organised by the West African Institute of Mining, Mineral and Petroleum (WAIMM) in Accra that was well-attended by a number of dignitaries: including  Lawyer Sam Okudjeto, a member of the Council of State; Mrs. Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, Ghana’s Ambassador designate to Ethiopia; Mr. Sulemanu Koney, CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines; and Mrs. Georgette Barnes, President of Accra Mining Network among others.
Speaking under the topic ‘Developing Resource Based Industrialisation to Drive Economic Growth in Ghana’, Mr. Antwi expressed the need to implement policies that are competitive on a global scale, fair and equitable to both government and citizens as adequate compensation for the development and extraction of the country’s mineral assets.
He indicated that the deduction of exploration expenses, minimisation of administrative bureaucracies and removal of political influences in the granting of mining licences are ways to encourage investment in the extractives industry.
“Although Ghana is ranked high based on its mineral potential, the nation is perceived to rank lower in terms of policies. This necessitates the need to implement policies that will attract investment into the country.”
Mr. Antwi proposed that the country’s high total taxes need to be compared with other resource-rich nations to enable it attract investors into the extractive sector. “We need to align our policies and mineral resources inventory information through benchmarking with other resource-rich countries with recognised statutory reporting codes such as JORC, N143-101 and SAMREC.”
He encouraged government officials, mining engineers, geoscientists, banking sector representatives, Mineral Commission executives and media representatives present at the lecture to play their part in channeling the nation’s vast expertise in mining to drive this initiative and influence policy changes.
He indicated the need to identify areas along the value chain with increased potential of value addition in the extractive sector to promote sustainable development and increase job-creation.
The chairman for the function, Dr. Peter Amponsah-Mensah-Executive Director of Pamicor, called for policy implementation Centres to reposition themselves to make the Ghana Minerals and Mining Policy launched in 2014 meaningful.
He proposed an immediate restructuring of the Minerals Commission and its affiliates to ensure diversification of the nation’s mineral production base, in order to promote more sustainable growth of the national economy.
Professor Kwaku Appiah Adu of the Vice-President’s office explained the development strategy of the integrated Bauxite and Aluminum Development Project, which is aimed at diversifying the mineral base to create more jobs and wealth for the country.

GSA to implement EasyPASS to check inferior imports

 The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has said it is confident it will by May 1, 2018 implement the EasyPASS programme - a voluntary trade facilitation scheme, aimed at ensuring that products imported into the Ghanaian market are of the required quality standards to protect public health and save the environment.

According to the GSA, Bureau Veritas has been appointed to carry out the verification process worldwide and deliver the EasyPASS certificate in conformity with the standards which will ensure that imported products are verified before they are brought in.

A statement signed by the GSA’s Board Chairman, Dr. Akwasi Achampong, and copied to the B&FT explained that the programme, which is voluntary, implies presentation of the EasyPASS Certificate for fast-track Customs clearance of imported goods - except products regulated by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) - from May 1, 2018. 

The GSA urged the business community to be duly informed that exporters and suppliers will have to contact Bureau Veritas in the country of export. The process involves conformity assessment based on the approved national standards.

Upon satisfactory verification, a certificate of conformity will be issued for the relevant shipment, which should facilitate Customs clearance at the port of destination. 

Speaking to B&FT, the GSA’s Director of Corporate Communications - Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, said all inferior products imported into the country will face rejection upon implementation of the programme.

He said the EasyPass is part of measures being taken to prevent substandard goods from entering the country.

“We want to rid the economy of substandard products, and this is the surest way of preventing substandard products from entering the country’s market.

“We encourage all importers to be part of it to ensure that Ghana becomes a safe place for doing business as far as consumer goods are concerned,” Dr. Amponsah-Bediako said.

He encouraged the business community to take advantage of the programme to facilitate clearing goods from the ports while saving lives.

He added: “The agent – Bureau Veritas – will be at all the major importing locations in the world, to examine and send us the report. They have equipment and sophisticated machines to examine these products. Upon arrival in Ghana, there will just be inspection of the certificate”.

A successful implementation of the EasyPass programme will boost Ghana’s confidence within the international business community.

It is also in accordance with adoption of the trade facilitation measures by the World Trade Organization agreement, which will go a long way to drastically reduce time in the clearance of goods from ports as well as attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Dr. Amponsah-Bediako indicated that there have been positive discussions among stakeholders and sector ministries for their support prior to the implementation.

“We have discussed this programme with the Presidency, sector ministers and all stakeholders, and they have fully agreed. We have the support from all of them. It’s a very good programme, except that with every new thing people find it difficult to comply,” he said.





Minerals Commission experts to investigate Newmont fatal accident


The Minerals Commission has said a team of technical mines-experts has been commissioned to embark on an immediate investigation into the Newmont Ahafo mine accident that occurred over the weekend.
 
An official at the Commission in a telephone interview with B&FT said the investigation will be a purely technical accident investigation, after which the report when completed will be handed over to the minister for decision-making.

“Once the accident area is secured and protected, the investigation will be immediate so that evidence doesn’t get out of hand. Our guys even got there on the Saturday night; they were there until the last person was removed on Sunday, so they have been there since. The place has been secured,” the official said.

A statement from Newmont Ahafo copied to the B&FT said: “Newmont Ghana is deeply saddened to report a fatal accident on 7 April, following the collapse of the reclaim tunnel roof at its Ahafo Mill Expansion project. Relevant authorities have been notified and the company is cooperating with the police in their investigations”.

The statement explained that six fatalities have been confirmed. Two others were treated at the clinic and discharged. The workers were all contractor-employees with Consar Limited, a construction services company.

Mr. Alwyn Pretorius, Regional Senior Vice President of Newmont’s Africa Operations, indicated that: “The entire Newmont family is devastated by this tragic accident, and our priority is to provide support to the families, friends and co-workers of the deceased”.

Operations have been suspended and Newmont Ghana is notifying families of the deceased. All other employees working in the area have been safely relocated and accident-site has been secured. The police are on site and the appropriate government and regulatory agencies have been notified, including the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission.

Meanwhile, B&FT has gathered that Newmont has temporarily shut down all its mining operation sites in the country, due to the fatal accident at its Ahafo Mine site.

The mining firm is expected to resume operations after investigations are concluded.

“In terms of restart, we will not restart…until we ensure that all areas have been re-assessed,” Acting General Manager at the Ahafo Mines, Yaw Okyere Ntroso said.

“Our sister-company in Akyem has also stopped operation in solidarity with us, until we resume when the place is safe,” he stated.

The development could have some serious implications on the company going forward - in terms of impact on its revenue, looking at the volume of gold ounces produced in a day.

Newmont, which commenced operation in Ghana in 2006 currently, operates two main mining sites at Akyem and Ahafo in the Eastern and Brong Ahafo Regions respectively.