The International Body for Standardization has called for a re-examination of existing rules that govern global trade to ascertain whether they add value or unnecessarily restrict trade between and among nations.
Held under the theme “Open Minded, Open for Change”, the weeklong Annual General Assembly that took place in the German capital of Berlin and ended Friday, challenged national bodies responsible for standardization to find ways of reacting in good time to the needs of industry and the business community.
During a courtesy call paid on the Zambian embassy in Berlin, Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) Director Manuel Mutale said the rules governing standards’ bodies tend to be heavily bureaucratic thereby failing the needs and demands of today’s business. “For instance, if Kenya wanted to import maize from Zambia and the latter has produced excess maize, our conformity assessment system must be quick enough to react and provide test results which can be used for these business decisions”, Mr. Mutale said.
Flanked by his deputy, Mrs. Margaret Lungu, the ZABS’ Director noted that there were policy and legal developments underway in Zambia some of which were announced by President Edgar Lungu in his recent address to parliament that will transform the national standard’s body into an industry and business-friendly institution. Mr. Lungu said ZABS will concentrate on helping industry and the business community in attaining internationally accepted standards for their goods while another body will be responsible for regulations and enforcement.
In her remarks, Zambia’s Charge D’ Affaires, Mrs. Theresa Kimena said the Zambian embassy in Berlin stood ready to work closely with ZABS in identifying opportunities that could enhance the capacity of the standard’s body in undertaking its national duties. Mrs. Kimena said her mission was interested in technology transfer and training of officers at ZABS to match developments both in the Zambian economy and on the global stage.
“Here in Europe, there have been developments in industry that have demonstrated the critical role that bodies responsible for standards play in safeguarding the well-being of consumers”, Mrs. Kimena said. She expressed confidence that the political leadership played at home that has shifted focus to development should be able to see critical economic bodies such as ZABS attaining the same standards as their counterparts in developed nations.
The Zambia Bureau of Standards belongs to the SADC, Continental and International bodies for quality standards. This year’s annual general meeting was held under the auspices of the body in German responsible for Standards, which is also Dean of the world body for national standards.
The statement was released to the media by Kellys Kaunda, First Secretary for Press at Zambian Embassy in Berlin, Germany