GNBS launches national quality policy consultations
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) on Wednesday launched the National Quality Policy consultations, which is intended to ensure that local products, to be exported, meet the standard requirements as well as those entering the country.
The National Quality Policy, which falls under the project ‘Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure for Economic Diversification and Trade Promotion’ is currently being developed by consultants and other members of the GNBS.
The five-and-a-half-year long project is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the tune of US$9 million.
The Project Manager, Nandram Persaud, explained the objective of the project is aimed at enhancing the national quality infrastructure for the economic diversification and trade promotion.
“As a shortened version we would refer to the National Quality Infrastructure Project is to support economic diversification exports through the enhancement of the National Quality Infrastructure and through a National Export and Promotion Strategy,” he stated.
The project also hopes to enhance the capacity of the national quality infrastructure, capability of Go-Invest for Export and Investment promotions.
The project manager went on to explain the outcome of the project, which include an increase in average annual flow of exports of non-traditional products for exporters, increase in average annual flow of tones of exports of non-traditional products and decrease in rejection rates for fruits and vegetables to other countries, among others.
The NQI programme has three sub-components which include the modernising of institutional framework, improving laboratory facilities and equipment for the GNBS and implementing the National Export and Investment Strategy.
Consultancy services for the project is being provided by Arca Consortium.
Chairperson of the National Standards Council, Carole Fletcher said she believes the launching comes at an opportune time.
“The National Quality Policy comes at an opportune time as the global picture is changing as it relates to the standardisation. The Guyana National Bureau of Standards has recognised the need to prepare itself to meet the emerging needs of all stakeholders and has embarked on crafting a National Quality Policy,” she explained.
According to her, the process of crafting the policy seeks to involve every organisation responsible for testing, certification, inspection and standardisation, exports and manufacturing.
In fact, Fletcher said such agencies will be consulted with in the coming weeks relating to the crafting of the NQI. Meanwhile, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin during his remarks said Guyanese have ignored the issue of quality standards for an extensive period.
“In Guyana we have been able to ignore the issue of quality standards for a very long time without really understanding the consequences. This is perhaps because our economy for the most part was driven by a few commodities which we exported in bulk and in return we have been reporting most of what we consume from the cheapest possible sources, so we have not traditionally been very standard conscious or quality conscious,” he acknowledged.
The Minister said he is confident that the project once concluded will increase the number of local products and services being traded internationally.
A website was also launched on Wednesday which will be open to the public in a few weeks, as it is being finalised.
The website will be helpful in providing users with a list of agencies’ regulation standards which can be used as an information hub for persons seeking what is required of them before they can export their products.