A final draft of the National Quality Policy (NQP), a framework that will guide the establishment and improvement of the national quality infrastructure, is complete and awaiting feedback from government ministries before it goes to Cabinet for approval.
The project, which started in March this year, was awarded to a Mauritius-based company, International Economics, under the coordination of international experts, Martin Kellermann, Patrick Reposeur, Clementine Chikomba and Alicja Stec-Nipcon.
The policy addresses issues of national quality infrastructure and the technical regulation regime as well as covered capacity building of local operators and exporters within the SME’s bracket.
The consultants also trained staff involved in some of the quality infrastructure activities such as testing and certification of products, as well as management systems and regulatory work.
Speaking at a two-day workshop to finalise the NQP draft last week, the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) managing director, Masego Marobela said the capacity building interventions included training and coaching of SMMEs on the international standards and other requirements of the European market.
“This is a final workshop of a project which will strengthen our quality infrastructure as well as provide support to economic operators to comply with World Trade Organisation Technical Barriers to Trade requirements,” she said.
Marobela added that the policy was geared towards improvement of a technical regulatory framework that was needed to support trade in Botswana and to help improve the nation’s consciousness about quality.
BOBS, in collaboration with the Centre for the Development of Enterprise, facilitated the implementation of the project while the European Union offered technical assistance.
The assistant minister of Trade and Industry, Sadique Kebonang said a credible quality infrastructure and regulatory environment were important pillars for industrial development as they supported export strategies.
“This will therefore enable manufactures and service providers to upgrade the quality of their goods and services to meet the export requirements which, in turn, leads to the growth of the economy,” he said.
International consultant, Martin Kellermann said the NQP would upgrade and build capacity within the BOBS as well as SMMEs.
“NQP is not a stand alone policy and must be aligned with relevant government policies on trade and socio-economic development,” he said. “It has to take international and regional obligations of the country into consideration.”
NQP is part of a broader industrial plan for diversification and export growth strategies that seek the development of quality products and services to enhance trade, which underpin socio-economic development.