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The Jamaica Bureau of Standards’ project for the Strengthening of Jamaica’s National Quality Infrastructure has been allocated $19.9 million in the 2006/07 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
The allocation will go towards the continuation of initiatives aimed at the modernization of Jamaica’s National Quality Infrastructure in keeping with internationally accepted principles and the requirements of a free market.
Anticipated targets for the current fiscal year include the continuation of the development process for the national quality system; completion of the establishment of the national accreditation body (NAB); completion of assistance to the Bureau of Standards to upgrade its Dangerous Goods Packaging Testing Facility; the reviewing and upgrading of current regulatory and enforcement mechanism for the food sector to bring it in line with international practices and the completion of the planned training of personnel in the food sector.
Achievements up to November 2005 include: the development and approval of a National Quality Policy by Cabinet; the development and subsequent implementation of a strategic action plan to implement the policy and the completion of the Laboratory Accreditation Technical Assistance (LATA) Programme following which about 90 per cent of the 25 participating laboratories were upgraded to meet the international standard.
Two training and awareness seminars were also held, to sensitize private and public sector stakeholders on the international principles for world trade and conformity assessment, as well as the completion of the technical assistance programme for the development of the national accreditation body.
Implemented in April 2000 through funding from the Swedish International Agency (SIDA) and the Jamaican government, the project is designed to develop a national quality policy and a strategic plan for implementation of the policy, in line with already established policies of government.
A key objective is to complete the dangerous goods facility to meet the testing and certification needs of the region in keeping with the United Nations regulations for the transport of dangerous goods.
The project will see to the establishment of a fully functioning national accreditation body to accredit institutions in Jamaica and the CARICOM region, as well as to support accredited laboratories in developing and implementing quality systems.
It will also provide for the modernization of the relevant regulatory and enforcement mechanisms for the food sector to include the application of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems, as well as to train private and public personnel in all aspects of the national quality infrastructure.
The project which was implemented at an initial estimated total cost of some $52.99 million, has been granted further extensions and should be completed by July of this year.
It is being implemented under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology.