MALAWI – The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has marked 50 years of promoting standardization and quality assurance in Malawi under the theme “MBS – Partner for Industrialization”.
A parade was conducted as part of the festivities from Blantyre’s old town to Kamuzu College of Health Sciences, where several events were held.
Speaking at the occasion, the Bureau’s Acting Director General, Mr. Thomas Senganimalunje, emphasized a number of accomplishments since its founding in 1972.
“It should be noted that when the MBS was established in 1972, it was only testing pesticide residues in tobacco samples destined for exports.
“We can provide a lot of services from standards development to conformity assessment, where testing of food and non-food products, verification and calibration of weighing and measuring instruments and also the certification of locally produced imported and exported products and services are done,” he said.
The bureau claims that over the past 50 years, it has helped to produce more than 1,800 Malawi Standards and built the capacity to evaluate more than 70 000 samples annually while fulfilling national and international standards.
Rex Moyo, the Acting Director General, told the media in Blantyre that they anticipate expanding their scope of accreditation with the completion of their K18.3 billion (U.S$17,875,606.53) office complex, which would include state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.
“In our current premises, we have had challenges going for accreditation in more scopes as our laboratory is not purpose-built. As we move to the new premises, which have a controlled environment, we expect the results of [our] accreditation to be accepted worldwide,” he said.
He said that the MBS would keep educating small- and medium-sized company owners about the value of adhering to Malawian standards.
“Most of our people are employed in the informal sector. We do realize that people have the capacity to produce but do not have an understanding of standards. As such we decided to train them to be knowledgeable about standards,” said Moyo.
Small and medium-sized businesses, in Moyo’s opinion, can export their goods outside of Malawi and thereby bring in foreign currency.
The Board Chairperson, Mr. Davlin M.D. Chokazinga thanked the Malawian government and development partners including the European Union (EU), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Bank for their technical and financial support that allowed the Bureau to reach its current state.
“This celebration is indeed of greater public importance and it provides an opportunity for us to reflect on where we are coming from and where we are going,” he said.
Among other things, the MBS honored the winners of this year’s African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO) Essay Competition as well as long-tenured employees who have worked for the bureau for more than 25 years.