The Ghana Standards Authority will not name the oil marketing companies (OMCs) cited for infractions detrimental to the interest of consumers, its acting Director-General, Professor Alex Dodoo has said.
These OMCs, 57 in number, were fined GHc 261,000 for engaging in various infractions in the Greater Accra Region alone, between September 2016 and August 2017.
Prof. Dodoo noted on the Citi Breakfast Show that there are aspects of the law being enforced that needed to be strengthened, and submissions have been made to the Ministry of Trade and Parliament in this regard.
The GSA is the custodian of the weight and measures act, which has oversight over measurement-related trade.
Of the infractions in question, 45 pump stations served less fuel than the customers purchased, and were fined GHc 5,000. Ten other pump stations used pumps that were not verified by the GSA and were fined GHc3,000. Two other stations were found to have broken nuzzles in pumps and were fined GHc 3,000.
As part of possible changes to the law, Prof. Dodoo said his outfit has requested the Minister of Trade to review the fines upwards “so that it would be enough of a deterrent for those who do not comply with regulations.”
He added that: “We have submitted a new Bill and Parliament is going to consider it; that they must be stiffer in the sanctions that apply.”
Till the law changes, he said, “unfortunately, we can only apply the functions as prescribed by law.”
Fairness needed in naming and shaming
Prof. Dodoo stressed that the GSA was in favour of naming and shaming offending companies, subject to parliamentary approval, because “once you start naming, obviously it serves as a deterrent and once we are given the right, we will do that.”
The GSA, however gives the benefit of doubt when infractions are cited, as its “first view is that, it is an honest and genuine mistake or problem,” according to Prof. Dodoo.
“It is important to bring everyone on board so that as you crack the whip, it is seen to be fair and seen to be proportionate. But immediate naming, I think, will be disproportionate. For instance, if you have a company with 200 stations and you have an issue with one, just naming that one out of the 200 may give an impression which may not be in the interest of the business and in the interest of fairness.”
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