The Gambia Bureau of Standards (TGSB) last Tuesday engaged stakeholders in the cement sector to ensure compliance and standards for cement products at a ceremony held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.
The move follows the country’s recent proliferation of low-quality cement products by local dealers. However, the day also provided a better opportunity for those involved in the cement trade to highlight some of their bottlenecks and impediments to the smooth running of their business.
Addressing the gathering, Ebrima Musa Jallow, Director of Standards at the Gambia Bureau of Standards, explained that the Gambia Bureau of Standards (TGSB) was established by an Act of Parliament in 2010 under the Ministry of Commerce as the national standards body of The Gambia to standardize methods and products produced or consumed in the country and for related matters.
In addition, he said, other functions of the Office include implementing the national quality policy and improving the quality culture of citizens through awareness raising, information sharing and training. .
He further explained that they have four divisions within the Bureau and one of the bureaus deals with standardization; a division responsible for the development of all standards and the promotion of standards under development.
“We have developed standards through technical committees: national experts from all sectors who sit in a round table to adopt the standards which are published in our national gazette as national standards.”
The other division, he said, is the Compliance and Assessment Division, which is responsible for inspecting, testing and certifying products against public standards.
Assan Gaye, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment, recalled that the ministry is responsible for both developing and formulating policies that facilitate trade and create jobs for stimulate the economy.
“It also plays a central role in the availability of industry and the wider value chain to ensure that cement and other relevant products within the value chain are standardized. The ministry was informed that “Currently, as far as the industry is concerned, there is a challenge with the influx of cement that competes with our local cement.”
To this end, DPS Gaye said the ministry has taken it upon itself to support local industries to promote their growth in accordance with conformity assessment procedures to ensure that quality and national standards are met in the country.
He also reminded stakeholders of the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), acknowledging that it is a broader market as far as trade is concerned.
“In our quest for industrialization and to prepare the country for the ACFTA, it is therefore essential that we protect our industries in accordance with the protocols of the WTO.” he added.