09.07.2004 Business & Finance

FDB to introduce new fees from September 1

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Accra, July 9, GNA- The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) in collaboration with its partners on Friday announced new registration fees on all regulated imported products with effect from September 1, 2004. The review, which would be done in phases, is to promote public health and safety of consumers.

The imported food products include rice, sugar, tomato paste, fats and oils, poultry, meat products, flour products, juices and canned fish products.

Mr Emmanuel K. Agyarko, Executive Director of FDB said this on Friday when the board met all food importers in Accra to discuss the new fees, rules and regulations for food importation into the country.

He explained that the new fees had been necessitated by the cost of laboratory analysis of products, administrative input into registration, cost of post-market surveillance activities and to ensure public health safety.

It is also to address the numerous concerns raised by consumers concerning sale and distribution of expired goods, improper labelling and misbranded food products, poor display of food items through direct exposure to the vagaries of the weather and poor handling of re-packaging materials resulting in the contamination of the product.

He said rice would attract a new registration fee of 30,000 dollars per brand for a three-year period, sugar 20,000 dollars per brand, tomato paste, 20,000 dollars per brand, confectionary (biscuits and cookies), 20,000 dollars per brand, confectionary (sweets, toffees etc), 10,000 dollars per brand, juices and other non-alcoholic beverages, 10,000 dollars per brand and canned fish, 10,000 dollars per brand.

Mr Agyarko said the board would also ensure that each product was registered before importation commences and given a registration number adding, "with this in addition to your appropriate documents, you will not go through difficulties to clear your goods as you do now." The consumers expressed concern about the new fees and described them as too exorbitant and suggested that the new date be postponed for a dialogue to agree on the new fees.

Mr John Awuni of Continental Commodity Trading Company said: "We are already battling with the two-and-a-half per cent Health Insurance levy which would begin in August and we must remember that in the end, it is the consumer who would suffer."

The Reverend Father Ebenezer Jones-Okai of IMEXCO Ghana Limited commended the Board for streamlining things to ensure health and safety.

"But we must take into consideration the consumer" he said adding there was the need for FDB and its agencies to reconsider the date and meet importers for a dialogue.

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