The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development and its implementation agent Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) together with UNIDO are conducting consultations with a number of public and private sector organizations as part of the review of the National Quality Policy (NQP) document.
The current NQP document was revisited by all relevant stakeholders and conformity assessment experts through a series of workshops held in 2013 and 2014. The aim of the workshops was to interrogate the policy document’s suitability in addressing the standardization and conformity assessment needs of the country given the changing environment in regional and international trade arena such as the African Free Trade Area.
Speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development, Maria Pogisho (Deputy Director of Commerce), stated that the policy seeks to streamline the work of all quality related institutions and coordinate all elements of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) to ensure the supply of quality goods and services for local consumption and exports.
“The policy is aimed to improve Namibia’s international competiveness and lead to enhanced export performance. This will also support Small and Medium Enterprises to conform to national standards and comply with technical regulations thus supporting economic growth.”
She added that the policy further aims to ensure protection of consumers in Namibia through ensuring quality services and products are available in the local market.
Dr Elsie Meintjies, Chief Technical Advisor to the UNIDO Trade Capacity Building Programme explained that the national quality infrastructure, where the NSI forms part of, is the collection of public and private institutions providing standardization, metrology, conformity assessment services and accreditation.
She further explained that one such way to protect the Namibian economy is the development of a technical regulations framework. Technical regulations are concerned with the safety and health of the population, the health of plants and animals, protection of consumers against deceptive practices and the protection of the environment.
The NSI and UNIDO have started group and one-on-one consultations with the public and private sectors in Windhoek while further consultations will take place in Swakopmund, Mariental and Oshakati. The final policy document is expected to be finalized in mid-November this year.
Cabinet adopted the National Quality Policy document on the 1 June 1999 as the official government statement highlighting the government’s strategic intent and position on all issues concerning quality enhancement and advancement across all sectors of the economy in order amongst others to facilitate access to global market.
The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development was given the task of spearheading the implementation of the National Quality Policy. The Ministry then assigned the task of coordinating the implementation of the policy to the NSI as the specialized agency already implementing most of the standardization and conformity assessment activities (testing, inspection, calibration, verification) in the country.