Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 23, 2016 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis will soon experience the benefits of an internationally accredited Bureau of Standards (SKNBS) due to training currently taking place under the “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Facilitator and consultant Dr. Ebo Budu-Amoako explained that “accreditation is internationally recognized as a reliable indicator for technical competence.”
“National economies that have put in place this type of infrastructure are in a better position to provide a good sense of confidence in the quality of goods and services that are produced,” Dr. Budu said. “Consumer confidence, it’s good especially on international levels.”
He elaborated that while getting accreditation would be expensive, in the final analysis, it will promote, and help with national and regional economic growth.”
Similarly, Director of SKNBS, Hiram Williams, said that accreditation garners respect locally as well as regionally and internationally. He gave an example of how it can promote investment.
“It would assist in terms of investment into the country because it’s always important,” Mr. Williams said. “It could be that a food company wanted to establish in St. Kitts, they need to know that the products can be tested by a competent authority, so that when they go to export their product, there is no issue with it. Once we test the product, carry out the test that we’re accredited for, it would be accepted internationally, there would be no question. That’s why Dr. Budu, the consultant also spoke about maintaining the accreditation.”
While noting that SKNBS would need additional resources, including new equipment in order to carry out the new procedures, Dr. Budu said that once accreditation is attained, it was also a matter of keeping it.
“Maintaining accreditation is not cheap, but there are rewards after that because the competency gives you the chance to amplify your cost recovery,” Dr. Budu said. “You could be the competent laboratory in this region where people might even bring their samples from outside St. Kitts to test over here, so you can cost recover. But the input to getting where we want to get it’s not easy, in terms of the work involved and the resource input.”
Mr. Williams took the opportunity to thank the Caribbean Development Bank for its technical assistance and the European Union for the funding under its 10th European Development Fund. He further noted that maintaining accreditation would mean that SKNBS would have to be audited every two to three years to ensure that the standards are kept.
“We expect that we would have more products being exported,” Mr. Williams said. “Even looking at the imports we can assure the consumers, once we’re able to test those products they will be assured that they are safe for consumption. Key to St. Kitts and Nevis is the export potential. It’s difficult to compete on the global market if you don’t have your products tested and certified by the competent authority.”