To support the standardization and competitiveness of ECOWAS enterprises, while ensuring compliance with international best practices, the Ministry of Commerce through the National Standards Laboratory yesterday launched the West African Quality System Programme (WAQSP).It is also intended to develop a sustainable quality infrastructure in order to facilitate trade and encourage the establishment of a West African Common market.The project is being funded by the European Union (EU) through the United Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and held at the National Standards Laboratory (NSL), Ministry of Public Works.According to Steve Mambu, National Training Coordinator of the NSL, the first phase of the WAQSP started in 2001 and was just for the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA/WAEMU) member countries. Following the successful first phase from 2001 to 2005, the second phase was launched in 2007, which included the remaining seven ECOWAS member states, together with Mauritania, through funds donated by the EU through UNIDO.He disclosed that the overall objective of the programme is to strengthen regional economic integration and trade by creating an environment that facilitates compliance with international trade rules and technical regulations of particular importance which are World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements on Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures.“Five thematic areas were supported by the programme both at regional and national levels including Quality Promotion, Quality Policy, Quality Infrastructure and Standardization, Metrology and Accreditation,” he recalled.Mambu explained that the programme made achievements at the Regional and National levels, specifically for Liberia, as it enabled the country to set up its national quality infrastructure namely the National Standards Laboratory, actualizing the functionality of the institution in services to private and public sectors of the country.He disclosed that WAQSP’s further support the country in the area provision of rehabilitation and equipment for the testing labs (Chemical and microbiology labs) and the metrology/calibration lab; training of the technical staff of these laboratories; and upgrading of local enterprises for international certification for the recognition of the local products, all supported the development of the National Quality Policy, designing of this state-of-the-art metrology building and payment of membership fees to ISO, OIML, and others.According to him, the Programme conducted a circular mission in 2008 by an international laboratory expert for an in-depth assessment on microbiology, physical and pesticides testing laboratories, as well as metrology and calibration labs.Representing the Minister of Commerce and Industry, deputy minister for administration Frantz Che Sawyer, said given the challenges of globalization and the important role industry plays in national development over the years, ECOWAS has recognized that regional integration and cooperation through industrialization is one of the major interventions in ensuring that West African Countries benefit from tremendous gains of ever-increasing global trade.Minister Sawyer said ECOWAS member states reaffirmed their commitment to industrialization vehicle for the development and efficient implementation of the West Africa Common Industry Policy (WACIP), which motivated the establishment of ECOWAS. The WACIP, according to Deputy Minister Sawyer, was formulated to implment the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993, with a vision “to maintain a solid industrial structure which is globally competitive, environmentally friendly and capable of significantly improving the living standards of the people by 2030,” he said, quoting the treaty.The implementation of the past quality programs in support of the WACIP has had significant and profound impact on regional and national economies, he said.As a beneficiary of the past West Africa Quality Program , Liberia has, through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, developed key national policies and strategies that are in line with regional efforts which include National Trade Policy, Industrial Policy and National Export Strategy.Minister Sawyer lauded the European Union for its financial support towards ensuring that ECOWAS region-trade capacity is enhanced to take advantage of immense opportunity of Global Trade.He also praised UNIDO for its support to implementing previous quality programs and called on all national stakeholders to cooperate and support the building of a national platform to ensureLiberia’s fullest participation and accrue the benefits that the WASQP offers. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Haags Bosch dumpsiteAn extensive dry season in Guyana can increase the possibility of landfill fires at the Haags-Bosch dumpsite, Eccles, East Bank Demerara, if precautionary measures are not taken beforehand.This is according to the Site Supervisor for the Communities Ministry, Lloyd Stanton, who related last week that a dry season will intensify these chances, but close monitoring can prevent such occurrences.“A prolonged dry season in the worst-case scenario, the only thing we have to look out for is fires. Prolonged dry season is going to increase our chances of getting a fire but once we continue our monitoring as done… most of the pickers know what to look out for, most of the staff know what to look out for,” Stanton said.As an experienced recruit in this field, it was highlighted that workers onsite can lookout for smells and soil textures that can indicate if something seems uncanny.“One of the simplest signs is being past the required heat before bursting into fire is the smell of rotten eggs. It means that down there is getting very hot and it’s likely to burst into flames. Another things is that the area becomes very fluid. You would find that when a machine moves on it, the machine is vibrating extra than usual.”This means the layers of garbage beneath the ground are heating up which calls for immediate attention.“It’s getting very hot so what we would do in cases like that is we have a fire tender available on site. We just go and create a small opening and we keep dousing water so the water runs down and cool that area.”Stanton is positive that as long as workers take up the mantle of close observation, landfill fires can be prevented.“It just means that we have to increase our monitoring but that’s the main downside of having an extended dry season. The prevalence of fire increases.”In 2015, a fire erupted at the dumpsite and was extinguished after many weeks of combined efforts. After consuming the site and affecting many nearby residents, workers managed to restore the landfill and it has been up and running ever since. New equipment, such as shredders and a tarpaulin deployer, were also installed to assist with innovative waste composting and storage.