In the world over, Certification Marks are identifications used to assure consumers that products are safe and of good quality.
The British Standards Institute (BSI) uses ‘The Kitemark’, which is a UK product and service quality mark. It is owned and operated by the BSI Group.
The ISI mark is a standards-compliance mark for industrial products in India since 1955. The mark symbolises that a product conforms to an Indian Standard (IS) developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India’s national standards body.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) uses the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) Quality Mark certification, which is given under the Voluntary Product Certification Scheme (NIS Mark of Quality), to products, for excellence in compliance with the NIS at production and on the market level.
In Ghana, the Ghana Standard Mark was established in 1970 by a Legislative Instrument LI 662. It is a means of attesting that a product or process meets a specification.
The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) is a government agency established by NRCD 1973 with the responsibility of the establishment and promulgation of standards with the object of ensuring high quality of goods produced in Ghana, whether for local consumption or export. It also provide for the registration and regulation of the use of standard marks.
The Authority is also empowered by the L.I. 662, which states explicitly that no person shall exhibit for sale, sell, distribute, prepare for export, export or otherwise dispose of goods manufactured by an industrial process in Ghana, unless he/she has a valid license to use the Standard Mark relating to such goods.
The Standard Mark is a legally registered certification mark issued under the procedures of a certification body that is recognised as being independent.
The licence for use of the certification mark is valid for a year unless it is renewed or suspended or revoked by the Authority.
The design of the mark is derived from the Adinkra symbol “Hwehwemudua”, which depicts a measuring stick or instrument. It represents high quality and excellence in one’s endeavours.
(Adinkra Symbol: Hwehwemudua means “rod of investigation,”)
In line with the year of enforcement as declared by the Director-General of the GSA, Prof. Alex Dodoo at the beginning of last year, the Authority is embarking on a heavy campaign to clamp down on perpetrators who use the standards mark without going through the appropriate channels, and thus deceiving consumers.
In order to acquire a standard mark for a product, one must apply to the organisation.
Applications are made on prescribed forms that can be downloaded from the website (www.gsa.gov.gh) or obtained from the Authority’s premises.
Every application for certification shall specify:
(a) The name and business address of the applicant
(b) The description of the goods for which the certification is required
(c) The address of the factory or place where the goods are manufactured or stored, if such an address is different from the business address.
The Authority encourages manufacturers of all locally-made products to engage the GSA to facilitate the process of acquiring a standard mark which gives attestation that a product is of high quality and is safe for consumption or use.
Additionally, the Standard Mark is a requirement across various markets along the sub-region and abroad for products to be accepted into these countries. So having the Standard Mark gives manufacturers an advantage in terms of accessing those markets.
Any product that has the standard mark makes consumers choose with confidence, with a peace of mind, and satisfaction, and it improves the quality of life of consumers.
From time to time, a team engages in market surveillance to check that items certified are exactly what is put on the market.
Meanwhile, the GSA has engaged the services of 200 trainees of the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to help ensure that imported goods and those manufactured in the country meet acceptable standards.
Known as the Trading Standards Officers (TSOs), they have been drafted in to conduct market surveillance and other activities to weed out fake brands and inject sanity in the trading of goods in the country.
The TSOs, he said, would conduct routine checks or investigate complaints on local traders and businesses.