Malawi will in the next two years own a state-of-the-art Standards Laboratory Complex which will provide exporters with internationally accredited testing services, thereby reducing the need for re-testing, re-inspection and re-certification of their goods abroad.
Addressing the media in Blantyre on Friday, Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) Director General Davlin Chokazinga said MBS has limited infrastructure to meet demands for the provision of standardization, quality assurance accreditation and metrology (Sqam) services within Malawi.
MBS’ standardisation and quality assurance certificates are only accepted in the SADC region and a few other countries in Africa, and outside Africa. The new facility will thus enhance MBS’ capacity, according to Chokazinga.
He said: “Exporters from Malawi are currently disadvantaged by the lack of internationally testing facilities for certification of products for export.
“But this facility will help us to enhance the ability to export goods by reducing the need for re-testing, re-inspection and re-certification abroad through acceptance of measurements, tests and conformity assessment results issued in Malawi.”
He said at the moment, most companies in the export business incur exorbitant service costs when accessing standardisation services from countries like South Africa.
Chokazinga further said the laboratory, which will be third in this part of Africa after Botswana and South Africa, will thus ensure reduced production costs, and the eventual selling price on the international market.
“The reduced production cost means prices will be cheaper and that makes our goods competitive. At the moment, goods from Malawi are deemed expensive because there is a lot involved at production level, that includes certification.
But if that is done in Malawi, our exporters will be able to peg the prices at par of even lower than their counterparts in countries where they are doing business,” he said.
According to a brochure detailing the project, the laboratory is valued at $12.7million (about K8.87billion), with the overall implementation framework guided by a Contribution Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Government of Malawi (GoM) will finance the construction project estimated at $7.2million (about K5billion), and MBS is the lead implementing partner, according to the project’s details.
Meanwhile, Vice President Saulos Chilima is on Monday expected to preside over the ground breaking ceremony for the laboratory, behind the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre.