BOBS urges firms to establish local standards

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Botswana is forced to rely on international companies’ standards because it was rare to get locally founded standards, a senior standards scientist at the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), Poppy Kgabung said.

Speaking at the World Standards Day commemoration here last week, Kgabung said if local companies did not have standards in place, government is compelled to source base materials from international bodies like  the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

Kgabung said as a result most standards used in Botswana were based on South African and other countries’ standards. She, however, said Botswana could get base materials from the SADC region and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and said each member country must use ISO to develop its own standards.

She added that standards were necessary to ensure that products and services were safe, reliable and of good quality. The standards also levelled the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade hence increase consumer choice, she said.

Kgabung also noted that standards were needed to remove barriers to trade between countries and help companies access new markets as well as ensure safety of consumers and the environment.

“We are often accused of allowing Chinese merchandise into the country, but we are a member of World Trade Organisation that monitors technical barriers to trade agreements between countries,” she said.  “Standards should not be toughened such that they then deter trade between member countries.”

She said if consumers could understand this, then standardisation process would be a smooth and easy process as such it could be much easier for standard developers.

For his part, the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) deputy chief executive  (regulatory affairs), Tshoganetso Kepaletswe said standards were one common world language hence consumers adhered, learned and used them effectively. He emphasised that standards facilitated trade and benefits of economic trade.

“Botswana must participate in the world trade discussions so that standards we use benefit the economy,” he said. “We have companies that take their products for certification by BOBS and it is comforting that they adhere to this policy. We conduct regular checkups to monitor compliance by local companies with the aim of protecting consumers.”

He said the process of standardisation enforced economic diversification drive to enable goods and services to penetrate regional and international markets. “We are not only targeting the local market as we have commonly agreed standards as member countries,” he added.

Kepaletswe urged companies to recommit to embrace standardisation in their operations and derive the benefits and penetrate the international markets.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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