Government says it is committed to ensuring that goods made in the country are of very high quality.
Chief Director in the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism Charles Kambauwa was speaking in Blantyre on Wednesday during the launch of the National Quality Strategy.
The launch of the National Quality Strategy comes barely a few months after Malawi unveiled the Buy Malawi Strategy which seeks to promote consumption of locally produced goods.
The National Quality Strategy was formulated as an implementation plan for the National Quality Policy (NQP) which was launched in 2014 after approval by cabinet.
According to Kambauwa, the two blue prints provide a clear demonstration of government’s intention to inculcate a quality culture through creation of a credible quality infrastructure and creation of awareness among Malawians on the need to place emphasis on producing quality products.
“This plan provides a five year implementation window for the provision of a functioning SQAM environment in Malawi. Further, the plan identifies activities that should be embarked upon within the next 12 months; those that can be done in the medium term (12 to 30 months) and those that should be done in the longer term (up to 60 months).
“NQS also seeks to provide measures that can be used to track the success of the activity and the economic contribution in the short, medium and long term too,” said Kambauwa.
He said lack of a sound quality policy in Malawi has led to a number of challenges such as lack of suitable product testing infrastructure and institutions; testing and certification of local products outside the country leading to high cost as well as limited access to foreign markets due to low standards.
“The National Quality Strategy therefore underpins the government goal of turning Malawi into a producing and exporting Country. Without a credible quality infrastructure, it is virtually impossible to increase the range of our exports,” said Kambauwa.
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Carol Flore Smereczniak challenged authorities to ensure a speedy implementation of the strategy.
Smereczniak said launching or having strategies and policies in place is not an end in itself as implementation is what matters the most.
“It has been said that Malawi is policy rich with a fairly good number of high quality policies and strategies in place but implementation is poor as result based implementation still remains a challenge.
“The absence of action has serious consequences on the economy as the competitiveness of Malawi products on export market hinges on the National Quality Infrastructure,” said Smereczniak.