ZABS CORNER with HAZEL ZULU
TUESDAY 24th February was a memorable day for Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) as we welcomed the new minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Margaret Mwanakatwe. The minister was on a familiarisation tour of among other places, statutory bodies that fall under her Ministry. ZABS as you know is one of the statutory bodies that fall under the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry (MCTI). The platform allowed us an opportunity to interact and orient the minister to the many activities that are going on at ZABS. And of course we did not forget to mention the challenges!
The meeting started with an address by the Chairperson of the standards council, David Nama who reaffirmed ZABSâ€™ desire and commitment to ensuring that the safety and health of the public is safeguarded through effective standardisation and quality assurance programmes. As you know, ZABS regulates products that fall under mandatory standards to ensure that the quality of locally manufactured products, and imports meet or even exceed the required Zambian standards.
ZABS director Manuel Mutale explained that the organisation was now focusing on decentralising its services with six offices already opened in the provincial towns of Ndola, Choma, Mongu, Kasama, Chinsali and Chipata. Mr Mutale said ZABS cooperates with other regulatory agencies, particularly in the development and enforcement of standards that are used to regulate other sectors.
Some of the achievements that he highlighted include a steady increase in terms of revenue for the bureau, systematic increase in the number of standards published since 2011 and also a sharp increase in the number of products being inspected at ports of entry after the opening of offices in border areas. The number of products being inspected in the ZABS laboratories at the head office has also increased over the last four years.
The Director also mentioned that metrology services offered by ZABS have improved considering the number of various instruments calibrated and the accreditation of the mass and volume labs.
Mrs Mwanakatwe informed ZABS that the government was in a hurry to deliver in areas of job creation and industrialisation. She said she wanted to see an industry that would voluntarily embrace standards and implored ZABS to scale up sensitisation efforts that would enable stakeholdersâ€™ access ZABS services. She pledged continued support to ZABS especially with the continued decentralisation and opening up of offices in all the ten provinces of Zambia.
As a national standards body (NSB), we are excited and committed to ensuring that every Zambian consumer is protected against consuming products that do not meet the required standard. We appeal to industry to voluntarily embrace good manufacturing practice, to enhance their businesses and also provide products that ensure value for money and public safety.
We welcome our new Minister and we are confident that we will have a progressive and quality time with her. Welcome madam!
Authored by head marketing and public relations.
Zambia Bureau of Standards
Freedom way South End
P O Box 50259
ZABS CORNER with HAZEL ZULU