GHANA – A thirteen-member Board of Directors of the National Biosafety Authority has been inaugurated at a ceremony in Accra.
The board is expected to approve the development, transfer, handling and use of GMOs in accordance with the Biosafety Act 2011 (Act 831) and direct the operations of the authority, among others.
The authority, which was mandated to oversee the regulation of modern biotechnology in Ghana, was established by the Biosafety Act 2011 (Act 831) in line with Ghana’s obligation under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Swearing in the members, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mr Akwasi Opong-Fosu, said the act was to legalise biosafety for the country to take decisions on modern biotechnology, based on risk assessment and other considerations.
He also said the government recognised the potential adverse effects that technology could have on the environment and health of the people and had, therefore, adopted biosafety as the decision-making mechanism for the management of the technology.
According to the minister, the inauguration climaxed 16 years of effort by the government to put in place appropriate and transparent decision-making mechanisms for modern biotechnology for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
“The government has taken this line of action because it sees great potential in modern biotechnology and has, therefore, cited it in the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy as one of the precision technologies to be adopted to enhance the socio-economic development of the country”, he said.
Mr Opong-Fosu said through the effort of the NBC, a comprehensive biosafety framework which spells out the road map for the implementation of biosafety in Ghana had been developed.
Training of Stakeholders
He indicated that training of stakeholders had been carried out with staff of the regulatory agencies and related organisations and added that five permits had been granted for the conduct of confined field trials of some genetically modified crops.
He expressed appreciation to the members for accepting to serve on the board, adding that with the calibre of the members he had no doubt that they wold discharge their duties creditably.
A former Minister of MESTI and Presidential Affairs, Dr. Christiana Amoako Nuamah, is the chairman of the board, with Dr Yaa Dufie Osei, Mr Fredua Agyeman, Mr Andrew Akolaa and Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe as members.
Other members are: Dr King David Amoah, Prof. Victoria Dzogbefia, Prof. K. M. Bosompem, Dr Stephen K. Nutsugah, Mrs Milly Kyofa-Boamah, Mr Kwame Dei Asamoah, Ms Angela Owusu and Eric Amaning Okoree.