Diseases of Animals Act outdated – says Committee

The Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament has observed that the Diseases of Animals Act, 1961  (Act 83) is outdated and not in conformity with most provisions made under Directive C/DIR1/11/10 on the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy.

The Committee has, therefore, recommended that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should ensure that an amendment is brought to Parliament for approval immediately after the approval of the Directive.

The Diseases of Animal Act is a major post independence piece of legislation that governs animal health and it consolidates with amendments; the enactments that provide for the prevention and control of the spread of infectious and contagious diseases among animals.

In a report by the Committee, presented by its Chairman, Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsuta-Kwamang Beposo, the Committee said Act 83 did not cover veterinary drugs and biologics; and there were also disparities in veterinary laws implemented by the countries in the West African Sub-region.

Having recognised the fundamental importance of inputs to the immense increase in agricultural production, Heads of States and Governments in the ECOWAS in 2008 approved a number of regional agricultural directives and regulations designed to facilitate the implementation of ECOWAS agricultural policy adopted in Accra, Ghana in 2005.

Among the objectives of the Directive are to define community procedures for management of veterinary drugs and biologics; enforce guidelines using Testing Animals Code of the World Health Organisation; and prescribe and describe the procedures and rules that Member States shall enforce in the areas of control of import and export, movement and marketing, retail and wholesale of veterinary drugs in the ECOWAS Region.

Others are the manufacture, wholesale distribution, import and export of veterinary drugs and biologics; medical feeds, extemporaneous preparation and retail, sale, distribution, inspection and control of veterinary drugs.

Governments are currently employing different policies, laws, regulations and procedures where they exist, to promote and regulate the veterinary drugs and biological sector.

The Committee Report said through organisations such as the ECOWAS, concerted efforts are being made to rationalise and harmmonise national policies, laws, regulations and procedures within the sub-region.

Also, many countries are now drafting new laws or revising existing legislations to align with the Directive C/DIR1/11/10 on ECOWAS on the Veterinary Pharmacy.

At the 65th Ordinary Session of the Council of Agricultural Ministers of ECOWAS Member States in Abuja, Nigeria in November 2010, it was agreed that the ECOWAS Directives on harmonisation of the rules governing quality control, certification and marketing of veterinary drugs and biologics in the ECOWAS Sub-region be published in Member States’ official gazettes.

The regulation shall enter into force upon its publication by each Member State in its National Gazette.

So far, seven countries – Burkina Faso, La Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo have gazetted the harmonised directives on veterinary drugs and biologics.

Ghana, Niger and Gambia are in the process of gazetting but the Committee, in its report, noted that “Ghana, being a dualist state, can only get its harmonised regulations gazetted after parliamentary approval of the Directives.”

If Ghana implements the Directive, it would ensure a uniform procedure for the management of veterinary drugs and biologics, use of World Trade Organisation guidelines, control of intra-community movement of veterinary drugs and biologics and supervision and control of manufacture, wholesale distribution of veterinary drugs and biologics, the Report said.

The Committee observed that the Directive was presented to the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic but was not approved before its dissolution in January 2017.

However, Cabinet has given a new approval to ensure that the Directive C/DIR1/11/10 on the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy is passed.

The Committee recommended that in future the Ministry should ensure that it presented such regional agreements to the House on time to ensure timeous approval and implementation.

It called on Ghana to gazette and harmonise its directives on veterinary drugs and biologics, and recommended that the Veterinary Services Directorate should be given approval by the Government to engage the requisite personnel to carry out the provisions of the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy Directive.

Source: GNA

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