Gov't committed to strengthening quality infrastructure — Shaw

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, says the Government remains dedicated to strengthening the country's regulatory, standardisation and conformity framework to facilitate trade, accelerate economic development and improve the quality of life for all Jamaicans.

His remarks were delivered by Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Andrene Collings at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) 12th annual National Quality Awards (NQA) ceremony and banquet, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston yesterday.

“We are committed to the development of our national quality capabilities and competence and the provision of a competitive trade environment, based on internationally accepted standards and principles,” Shaw pointed out.

He said that the administration is equally seized of the need to create an environment that encourages local consumers to demand high-quality products and services.

The draft National Quality Policy 2017 articulates the Government's position on the quality of goods and services produced and consumed in Jamaica.

The new policy, which is an update of the 2013 document, will help with quality upgrading of locally produced goods and services to internationally required standards, not only for local consumers but for the export market.

Shaw said that the consumer goods industry is undergoing significant transformation, with consumer behaviour, availability of new technologies, and shifts in purchasing power reshaping the supply chain.

He noted that manufacturers and retailers are being challenged to “redefine the way they operate and collaborate with each other as well as with their trading partners”.

The minister said this places standards and quality maintenance at the “forefront of what we do, as we must just keep pace with the demands of the time and changes, but ensure product safety and quality”.

He noted that the National Quality Policy is designed to provide direction to and guidelines on the various related activities.

Of importance, he pointed out, is the ability of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to comply with product standards and regulations in domestic and export markets.

He noted that MSMEs are major suppliers of goods and services in most, if not all, global value chains, and the Government is keen to develop the appropriate mechanisms to identify the sector's standards and quality needs.

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