A workshop, the fourth in a series, on industry compliance with the requirements of the International Standards Organization (ISO) as well as regional and national standards that ensure the safety of Electronic Communication Equipment (ECE) has taken place in Accra.
The workshop, dubbed: ‘Type Approval and Dealership Licensing Workshop’, aimed to sensitize stakeholders on the role of standardization in improving communications in Ghana and sanctions for non-compliance with regulatory, technical and safety standards.
It was organized by the National Communications Authority (NCA) on the theme: ‘Compliance with Electronic Communications Standards’.
In a welcome address delivered on his behalf at the opening of the workshop in Accra on Tuesday, Mr William Tevie, Director-General, NCA, stressed the need to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) responsibly and with caution in order to avoid accidents and injury as well as the danger posed to the health and hard-earned investments of users.
There was, therefore, the need, Mr Tevie said, to eliminate the effects of sub-standard ECE such as harmful interference in the frequency spectrum of the country and breaches in national security.
He disclosed that NCA was in the process of establishing a Type Approval Laboratory for testing ECE as a means of enhancing market surveillance and improving the standardization space in Ghana and, possibly, in the West African sub-region.
He noted that digitization of the economy and society was accelerating at an unstoppable pace, adding that along with promoting national policies to encourage the use of ICT tools in enhancing spectrum safety, there was also the need to promote the development of safe and standardized equipment.
Mr Tevie, therefore, called for committed partnerships to instill trust and ensure safety and security.
NCA is mandated under sections 66 and 67 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) and Regulations 78 and 79 of the Electronic Communications Regulations 2011 L.I. 1991 to ensure that all ECE manufactured or imported into Ghana for sale or for use are in compliance with minimum Health/Safety, Electronic Compatibility (EMC) and Radio requirements standards.
Again, as spelt out in NCA’s Type Approval Guidelines, an approval regime was established to ensure that all ECE used in Ghana comply with technical and regulatory requirements and that no sub-standard equipment, which may present radio, health and safety hazards to users and the electronic communication infrastructure, are allowed in Ghana.
The Type Approval Regime has also been designed to facilitate easy access to market, introduce a variety of equipment choice for the consumer and, more importantly, maintain consumer rights of the quality and safety of the equipment.
The NCA Type Approval Certificate is required before any ICT product is allowed onto the Ghanaian market and non-compliance by falsely claiming to have secured Type Approval— a certificate granted to a product that meets a minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements—is punishable under Act 775.
On the other hand, and in accordance with section 3 (c) of the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769), a Dealership License is required from NCA before any ICT product is imported, sold and used in the Ghanaian market.
A Dealership License is an Authorization that the NCA grants to an importer of Electronic Communications Equipment to import and sell type approved equipment on the Ghanaian market.
The law provides that anyone who manufactures, uses, sells or offer for sale or use any Telecommunications Apparatus to be connected to a Public Telecommunications Network, knowing that the telecommunications apparatus has not been approved, commits an offence.
Other offences under the law include: Providing electronic communications service without a license where a license is required for that service contrary to Section 73(1) of Act 775; Selling or manufacturing any system, equipment, card, plate or other device or offering for sale, producing, distributing electronic communications service without a license, contrary to Section 73(1) of Act 775; Installation, establishment and operation of communications equipment and systems without authorization from the Authority; Assembling or manufacturing of communications equipment and systems without authorization from the Authority (Regulation 87 of L.I. 1991); and Involvement in any illegal service not specified in a license or authorization of an operator (Regulation 87(2) of L.I. 1991).
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)