Accra, Feb. 5, CDA Consult – The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has affirmed that counterfeit electrical products are real danger to safety, business and economy.
“The counterfeiting industry is overwhelming, but that is no reason to give up and let it continue, we need to support and collaborate to deal with the proliferation,” Mr Francis Mensah Akpaloo, GSA Engineer stated at a workshop organised and sponsored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) at Ho recently.
Mr Mensah Akpaloo therefore advised companies to study product portfolio's vulnerabilities and incorporate prevention of electrical counterfeiting into an existing quality and safety programmes.
“Companies need to begin by understanding all of the vulnerabilities in their product portfolio, especially electrical companies. This requires creating a data repository of potential threats, and then use models to forecast potential risks,” Mr Mensah Akpaloo stated.
The CDA Consult workshop forms part of series of nationwide public education initiative dubbed: “Avoid Patronage of Counterfeit Electrical Products,” which seeks to assist stakeholders to identify counterfeit electrical products on the market.
It also seeks to expose stakeholders to dangers associated with the patronage of counterfeit electrical products, as well as create a platform for security operatives and others to enforce laws against sale of counterfeit products in the country.
The Anti-counterfeiting educational crusade being undertaking by the CDA Consult also seeks to help professionals understand the dangers associated with counterfeit electrical products.
The GSA Engineer urged companies to build product repository, or data bank, consolidates relevant historical information about internal incidents and industry insights into external incidents.
He suggested that the product data bank should contain information about internal counterfeiting incidents, including specific details such as raw material, adulterant, source, date of incidence, cost to the company, and actions taken.
“Information about external incidents can be gathered through participation in structured industry clearinghouses like the non-profit Fair Factories Clearinghouse used in the apparel industry, informal communication networks, and alert tools such as price monitoring systems,” he said.
Mr Mensah Akpaloo acknowledged that some companies use a number of sophisticated testing methods for detecting, known quality and safety issues.
“Yet the inherent variability within natural raw materials makes it difficult to test for every unknown threat, therefore verifying the authenticity of an ingredient or raw materials can be simpler than verifying the absence of every possible adulterant,” he said.
The GSA Engineer therefore urged companies to ensure that their raw materials are tested as early as possible.
Mr Mensah Akpaloo also urged companies to employ a comprehensive set of deterrence strategies, stressing that, “a more cost-effective way for a company to protect its brands and its consumers would be to apply a comprehensive set of deterrence strategies to prevent counterfeit products from entering the supply chain in the first place”.
He also encouraged companies to enforce the highest manufacturing standards using programmes such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standards, and accredited third-party certification schemes like the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
He said, “By setting the bar based on very clear industry standards, these programmes help reduce the risk of problems and provide added security within the supply chain”.
Mr Mensah Akpaloo also urged stakeholders to understand the implications of local risks, as some regions and markets are more vulnerable to the risk of electrical counterfeiting than others.
“It is important, therefore, to understand local risks and their potential impact on operations. Companies can expand their understanding of the potential risks that exist where they source materials or manufacture products by partnering with regulatory agencies, academia, and research institutions that monitor and analyze industrial developments,” he said.
The GSA Engineer therefore commended CDA Consult for initiating the crusade aimed at educating stakeholders on how to avoid patronage of counterfeit products.
He said the strategies outlined by the CDA Consult towards the holistic public education are all proven strategies for detecting and deterring electrical counterfeiting.
He said CDA Consult is providing an orchestrated programme platform with a designated project leader and top management support. In such programmes, industry experts lead workshops and conduct risk assessments to identify threats and develop a more comprehensive strategy for addressing electrical counterfeiting in the country.
He said it was necessary to shore up strategies and bolster investments that have already been committed to the supply chains, such as in brand protection and product safety.
He called for integration of product safety and quality, and educating procurement and supply chain personnel to become more sensitive to these increasing threats.
Mr Mensah Akpaloo lauded the effort of CDA Consult in creating a platform among industry, government, academia, and trade associations, which is a powerful tool for addressing electrical counterfeit in the country.
He said such a broad stakeholder collaboration would minimize the risk of electrical counterfeiting by protecting internal competitive intelligence, safeguarding against additional liabilities, and improving regulatory deterrence.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, CDA Consult Executive Director explained that the proliferation of counterfeit electrical products in the country “is on the increase, and as a nation we need concerted efforts to deal with the problem.
“Ghana is gradually becoming fertile market for counterfeit electrical products. We need a national crusade to fight the proliferation of counterfeit electrical products.
“We must all join the holistic crusade to sensitize the public against the usage of counterfeit electrical products”,
Mr Ameyibor said the CDA Consult is collaborating with public institutions, including the Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Standards Authority, Electrical Contractors, Electrical Manufacturers, Electrical Shop Owners, end users, contractors, security agencies, and the media in the crusade against the proliferation of counterfeit electric products in the country.
He said: “CDA Consult is creating the platform and build the necessary forces against the proliferation of counterfeit electrical products. We are focusing on raising awareness among the public regarding counterfeiting.
“We are creating a platform to expose the public to the main consequence of using cheap counterfeit electrical products – fire outbreaks and/or corporal harms like electrocution, loss of properties, accidents and death”.
Mr Ameyibor said the Brong Ahafo Region would host the next workshop in the third week of March.