Government, with support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has drafted the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) and Technical Regulation Framework Legislation and submitted it to cabinet for approval.
The draft comprises the Revised Standards Act, New Measurements Act, New Compulsory Specifications Act and the New Technical Regulation Framework Act.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Richard Taima, says Zambia’s NQI and its technical regulation regimes are not developed to their full potential and were not harmonised with those of its major trading partners.
Mr Taima stated that the country’s National Quality Infrastructure and technical regulations fall short of obligations under various regional and international trade agreements leading to their output not being recognised in both the local and export markets.
Mr Taima said this in Lusaka today at the stakeholder’s seminar for Phase Two of the joint United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)/World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade capacity building programme framework for Zambia.
Phase One, which aimed at building capacity of national quality infrastructure institutions, ended last month leading to among other things the establishment of the Zambia National Laboratory Association (ZNLA) and implementation of a business process management and communications’ system at the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency (ZWMA).
Mr Taima explained that through the formulation of the UNIDO trade capacity building programme government was seeking ways of enhancing the export performance of national institutions through creation of a framework to support standards.
The UNIDO trade capacity building programme was formulated with the objective of enhancing the country’s export performance by supporting the re-engineering of Zambia’s NQI based on the National Quality Policy (NQP) implementation plan and to increase private sector participation in service delivery.
Other outputs of Phase One are piloting of the global food safety initiative in Zambia involving mentoring and training of food producers and suppliers to achieve the basic level standard, accreditation of the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) mass and volume laboratory, establishment of an aglatoxin testing facility at ZABS, review of the overall organisational and legislative framework and in drafting bills relating to metrology, standards and technical regulations, and strengthening of selected sector enterprises to comply with international quality requirements.