Source: Ghana | Daily Graphic
More than two years after the ban on the importation of used undergarments and sanitary ware came into effect, the items can be found on the Ghanaian market.
Importers, according to the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), were using unapproved routes to smuggle the items into the country.
The ban on the importation of used undergarments came into effect on February 1, 2011.
Second hand underwear are said to contain germs and bacteria from the fluid of the previous user and have the potential of being transmitted to the next user.
Those who use second hand underwear such as panties, brazziers, handkerchiefs and singlets risk contracting rashes and other skin diseases.
Mr Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, Head of Public Affairs of the GSA, told the Daily Graphic that the importers used unauthorised routes on the blind side of the authority to bring in those items.
Mr Amponsah-Bediako said GSA had officials manning the five main points of entry into the country namely; Tema, Paga, Elubo, Ho and Aflao.
“The unofficial routes are more than the official designated points so this was a great challenge to the success of the implementation of the ban,” he said.
To avoid being arrested, he said some daring importers hid the banned goods among some approved bales of second hand clothes such as jacket, shirts, making it difficult to detect them at the ports.
Measures to check importation
Mr Amponsah-Bediako said GSA was working hard to stop the importation of the used undergarments through various actions including public education on the effects of the use of such goods on the body, inspection at all legal entry points, especially at the Tema Port, as well as engagement with stakeholders, especially the association of importers and dealers in used clothing.
He said the GSA, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was liaising with the various embassies in the country to stop the perpetrators from importing second hand undergarments from their country.
The Head of Destination Inspection Department (GSA), Prince I.K . Arthur, said some consumers had the mentality that the quality of used undergarments was better than new ones that could be bought in the country.
“The price difference between the new ones and the old is not that much so why don’t you buy the new one, that mentality should be changed” he said.
Mr Arthur impressed on consumers of such goods not to patronise them so that those who imported them would be discouraged from bringing them into the country.