Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.
The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), which is overseen by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, develops and publishes standards and ensures that goods entering Ghana meet acceptable standards. The GSA also provides certification services as a third-party certification body for a range of ISO standards and is the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade National Enquiry Point (NEP).
Ghana has 3,356 national standards on, inter alia, building materials, food and indigenous agricultural products such as shea butter and cassava chips, household products, electrical goods, and pharmaceuticals, among other goods. These standards can be found on the GSA website. Recent new standards relate to cocoa, motor vehicle safety for used autos, energy efficiency, and electrical wiring.
The Ghanaian Food and Drugs Authority is responsible for enforcing standards for food, drugs, cosmetics, and health items. Some imports are classified as “high risk goods” (HRG) that must be inspected by GSA officials at the port to ensure they meet Ghanaian standards. The GSA classifies these HRGs into 20 broad groups, including food products, electrical appliances, and used goods. U.S. stakeholders have found this classification system vague and confusing. For example, the category of “alcoholic and nonalcoholic products” could include anything from beverages to pharmaceuticals to industrial products. According to GSA officials, these imports are classified as high risk because they pose “potential hazards,” although that phrase remains undefined in law or regulation. The bulk of Ghana’s conformity assessment efforts (see below) are focused on this broad HRG group.
In terms of voluntary versus mandatory standards, the current regime provides that companies should adhere to standards, yet there is no legal basis to make standards mandatory. Failure to adhere, however, gives the GSA the power to confiscate goods that do not comply with standards.
A new Standard Authority Act was passed by the Ghanaian Parliament in June 2022 and is waiting presidential approval and official publication to enter into force. It gives the GSA more power to prosecute companies for non-adherence to standards.
Ghana typically uses ISO, Codex, or IEC standards and in some cases, American Society for Testing and Materials, American Concrete Institute, American Society of Mechanical Engineers or European Regional Standards. Ghana actively participates in standards harmonization efforts with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission under the ECOWAS Standards Harmonization Mechanism (ECOSHAM). Ghana also is active in the African Regional Standards Organization. The AfCFTA has provisions that call for additional standards harmonization in the future among African countries.
Testing, Inspection and Certification
The GSA and FDA have inspectors at major customs ports of entry. They enforce that the HRGs under their respective jurisdictions comply with Ghanaian standards. Imported HRGs must either be accompanied by a certificate of conformity issued by an internationally recognized laboratory accredited in their country of origin, or they will be inspected by the GSA/FDA.
Importers of HRGs can register and obtain approval from GSA prior to importing any of these goods. Under a new process called the EasyPASS Program, either Bureau Veritas or Intertek, after successful verification, issues an EasyPASS Certificate (certificate of conformity), which is used to facilitate customs clearance in Ghana. Upon arrival of goods at a port in Ghana, the GSA checks the validity of the EasyPASS certificate before releasing a consignment for clearance. While exporters pay fees ranging from 0.35 percent to 0.50 percent of FOB to Bureau Veritas or Intertek, importers in Ghana are required to register with the GSA and pay an annual registration fee, ranging from $20 to $4,000, depending on the type of products they import.
Foreign certificates of conformity and certificates of analysis from laboratories accredited by internationally recognized accreditation bodies are generally accepted. The GSA does not maintain a list of acceptable foreign laboratories, but it participates in the IECEE-CB Scheme. Test reports are also verified with reference to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). Note a list of conformity assessment bodies operating within Ghana.
The following are examples of industrial goods that are subject to either a prior authorization from a specific ministry or agency or conformity assessment requirement: food, cosmetics, drugs (FDA); pharmaceuticals (FDA); electrical appliances, products, LPG cylinders, toys (GSA); chemical and chemical-related products (GSA and Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency); Building materials, used goods, petroleum products, motor vehicle batteries, African textile prints (GSA and Energy Commission for petroleum products); pyrotechnics (GSA, Ministry of Interior); Vehicle spare parts (GSA and Ministry of Trade and Industry); Communication Equipment (National Communications Authority and GSA); and Industrial Machinery (Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ghana Investment Promotion Center).
For more information on the specific procedures for conformity assessment for your product, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service Ghana at firstname.lastname@example.org or +233(0)30-274-1870.
Publication of Technical Regulations
The initiative to develop a new standard usually comes from industry groups, academia, consumers, or the public. A stakeholder technical committee that includes industry, consumers and the government, among others, researches existing international norms for adoption or modification as a Ghana Standard. Once a draft standard has been developed, a 60-day public comment period follows. (Ghana usually notifies the WTO TBT committee just prior to, or within this period). Standards enter into force after their publication in the Government Gazette. It is not yet available online immediately upon publication. The Ghana Legal Information Institute (GLII) offers access to draft and promulgated legislation and Government Gazettes, although the GLII’s content can be incomplete.
Beyond standards, per se, broader regulations or Legislative Instruments (LI) can also affect business. Ministries submit an LI to parliament which has 21 days to accept or reject it without modification. Then it is signed by the relevant Minister, published in the Government Gazette, and becomes part of the body of laws. Another legislative process that can affect business is the creation and consideration of bills, the precursors to Acts of Parliament. It is mandatory for any bill presented to Parliament to be accompanied by a Memorandum that states its objective. Bills are subject to a more rigorous review and stakeholder consultation process. Bills must go through three readings before they are passed, which can take months to years. Parliament also has the opportunity to modify a bill. Once passed, the President can assent to or reject a bill. If the President accepts it, the bill becomes part of the body of laws.
The best way for U.S. entities to comment on standards or regulations that are under development are: 1) via the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade inquiry point (ideally, in coordination with the U.S. Government’s own comments, if any); 2) working with like-minded industry groups such as the American Chamber of Commerce to submit comments; 3) contact the U.S. Embassy for advice on the specific process for the measure of concern.
Further, the Ghana Business Regulatory Reform Programme under the Ministry of Trade and Industry aims to address issues such as a lack of public-private sector dialogue and difficulty in accessing proposed regulations. One element of this program is the Ghana Business Regulatory Reforms Consultations Portal, an interactive tool designed with the intent of serving as a one-stop registry of all regulations affecting businesses, helping policy-makers hold consultations with affected businesses and individuals, to allow for public consultation with the government on business-related policy, legal, and regulatory changes and to inform on other aspects of Good Regulatory Practice, including regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) and retroactive review of existing regulations to determine if they are still relevant (known as “regulatory guillotine”).
Ghana Standards Authority
P.O. Box MB245, Accra, Ghana
Tel. +233(0) 302-500231
Publication of Technical Regulations
Use ePing to review proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures
The ePing SPS&TBT platform (https://epingalert.org/), or “ePing”, provides access to notifications made by WTO Members under the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed by the WTO from January 16, 1995 to present. ePing is available to all stakeholders free of charge and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts. Use it to browse notifications on past as well as new draft and updated product regulations, food safety and animal and plant health standards and regulations, find information on trade concerns discussed in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees, locate information on SPS/TBT Enquiry Points and notification authorities, and to follow and review current and past notifications concerning regulatory actions on products, packaging, labeling, food safety and animal and plant health measures in markets of interest.
Notify U.S., operated and maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 2003 to distribute and provide access to notifications (and associated draft texts) made under the WTO TBT Agreement for US stakeholders, has reached its end of life. Per obligation under the TBT Agreement, each WTO Member operates a national TBT (and an SPS) Enquiry Point. National TBT Enquiry Points are authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points, which are NOT part of the WTO or the WTO Secretariat. All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, or U.S. government agencies on notifications to the WTO TBT Committee should be sent directly to the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point. Refer to the comment guidance at https://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/guidance/guidance.cfm for further information.