The National Communications Authority (NCA) has asked dealers of electronic communication equipment to certify their products or risk having them destroyed when they are discovered to be substandard.
It listed television sets, mobile phones, tablets, modems, set-top boxes and laptops as some of the equipment manufacturers and importers need to certify in line with the regulation.
At a stakeholder sensitisation workshop on dealership licensing and equipment authorisation for dealers in communication gadgets, organised by the NCA in Accra yesterday, officials of the authority took turns to explain the legal and procedural requirements to undergo the certification process.
The Deputy Director in charge of Technical Operations at the NCA, Mr Henry Kanor, said the authority was embarking on series of workshops to educate dealers, manufacturers and importers on the need to ensure that their equipment were up to standard.
He explained that the move was to prevent accidents and injury to safeguard critical national infrastructural interest.
He indicated that relevant sections of the Electronic Communications Act of 2008 empowered the NCA to ensure that all electronic communication gadgets manufactured or imported into the country for sale or use were in compliance with the law to ensure safety and electromagnetic compatibility.
Mr Kanor added that the authority had introduced a Type Approval Regime (TAR) to ensure that all devices used in Ghana complied with their technical and regulatory requirements.
The regime, he explained, had been designed to facilitate easy access to market entry, introduce variety of equipment choice for the consumer and maintain consumer rights of quality and safety.
Explaining the reason behind the standardisation, Mr Kanor said: “it is essential for international communications and global trade and for companies from emerging markets to create a level playing field and provide equal access to markets.”
The Principal Manager at the Legal Division at the NCA, Mr Robert Apaya, said “all electronic goods imported are subject to pre-installing testing to ensure that equipment conform to international standards.”
Mr Apaya pointed out that the standards included the specifications of electronic communications equipment that had to be inspected to check if they “meet local and international standards.”
On related offences, he submitted that the NCA was mandated to prosecute dealers who were found culpable and were liable to payment of fines, confiscation of their equipment that risked being destroyed or disposed of should those devices fall below standard.
Among the offences he mentioned were the installation of equipment without authorisation and the provision of service not specified in service providers’ licence.
The Senior Manager in charge of the Regulatory Administration Division, Mr Isaac Boateng, said the NCA was establishing a laboratory to test communication gadgets for approval.
He said the laboratory would enable the authority to certify dealers after approval but added that there were some accredited laboratories in other parts of the world whose certificates the NCA waived for dealers certified by them.
According to Mr Boateng, an electronic web application portal for equipment authorization has been designed (www.portal.nca.org.gh), which has a database of dealers who have been authorised to deal with communication devices and urged customers of electronic communication equipment to frequently visit the website to update their knowledge on the regulations.
Mr Boateng added that equipment authorization was also done to check cyber-related threats, drug trade, terrorism activities, consumer privacy and to safeguard trademarks of genuine manufacturers.
In his presentation, the Manager at the NCA, Mr Roland Kudozia, said dealership licence was a permit that the authority granted to a dealer of communication equipment to import and sell approved devices on the Ghanaian market.
He mentioned classes A, B, C and D as some dealership categories that required registration by potential dealers in communication gadgets.
The Principal Manager in charge of Engineering, Mr Edmund Fianko, underscored the need to obtain conformance certificate before using licences for commercial purposes.
He advised the general public to look out for genuine conformance logos of the NCA to guarantee product quality.