ZABS CORNER with HAZEL ZULU
THE year 2015 has gone by with a lot of success stories for the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS). We have run our race and we are pleased to share the story with you our stakeholders and the general public. Needless to say that we have also had our challenges which had stalled our desired progress to a larger extent. We know for certain that we could not have achieved what we have if you had not partnered with us. To that we say a big thank you.
Thank you to all of you for joining us as we moved on to ensure that we free our country of substandard products. And as a show of gratitude, let me say compliments of the season and a safe and healthy 2016. I also want to assure the nation that we will not relent but continue with our efforts to ensure that our consumers are healthy and safe.
And so we shall continue to remind you dear readers that as consumers, you should make a conscious decision to choose quality products because they are safe for you and your families. We will echo the same message as we have done throughout 2015; read product details, look out for the expiry and manufacturing dates, be mindful of the storage and handling of the products you are buying.
All these aspects may compromise the quality of the product that you choose to buy. To you manufacturers, traders and wholesalers, continue affiliating with us and embrace standards so that the products that you are giving to your clients are not only safe but also reliable.
Allow me then to share with you some of the milestones that we recorded last year. One of them is that we changed our logo and successfully launched it.
You will agree with me dear reader that changing the logo in itself would amount to nothing if we do not change and enhance our service delivery! So, in as much as we have changed the outside of our institution through the change of logo, I want to inform you that we want you to also appreciate the changes we have made on the inside.
That is why our chief executive officer, Manuel Mutale, reiterated during the launch of the logo on August 23, 2015, that although the old logo clearly interpreted the Bureauâ€™s functions, its performance up to that time justified rebranding.
Mr Mutale figuratively announced that while the previous logo was rich in meaning, there was need to reposition the organisation in the minds of its stakeholders.
One other milestone we are proud to share is that we significantly enhanced information dissemination and awareness to you our various stakeholders. We know so because we have received valued feedback from you through many other channels including this very column.
ZABS has also steadily increased revenue collection through the various services that we offer such as inspections, laboratory testing and analysis of products and calibration of products, to mention but a few.
For instance, in 2010, ZABS collected K16.7 million (K16.7 billion then) in revenue while four years later in 2014, its annual revenue collection swelled to a whopping K60.7 million. And yes, we do hope that going forward, in the year 2016, we should perform even better!
Additionally, ZABS has in the last four years recorded growth of 129 percent in metrology or calibration services, 197 percent in samples tested and 122 percent in imported used motor vehicle inspections for road worthiness.
However, one outcry from the public is for ZABS to begin to test products such as electronic and engineering products used in construction. Currently, we do not have the capacity in terms of infrastructure to carry out those tests. And this dear reader has been one of our major challenges.
Another challenge is the unavailability of laboratory testing facilities in other parts of the country apart from Lusaka and Eastern provinces. This has been a challenge as product samples from outlying areas have to be transported to Lusaka, and this ultimately affects the turnaround period for the test results to be availed.
Another major challenge is the low number of mandatory standards that ZABS is mandated to regulate. This translates into a limited number of products that ZABS is able to inspect. This has been a challenge as the expectations from the public are high and of course, they would like to see these challenges addressed.
I am happy dear reader, to inform you that some of the challenges that I have pointed out will be seriously addressed this year. And I make my promise to update you on the progress made on these. And like I earlier alluded to, donâ€™t standby, join our crusade to free this country of substandard products.
Happy New Year!
The author is head of marketing and public relations. For more information contact: The Director, Zambia Bureau of Standards, Lechwe House, Freedom Way, P.O Box 50259, Lusaka. Tel: 260-211-231385. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
ZABS CORNER with HAZEL ZULU