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MBS lab project misses deadline

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The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) is behind schedule on construction of the state-of-the art laboratory in Blantyre, Director General, Simon Mandala, has conceded.

Earlier, the bureau projected to complete the work by September 2018, but was unable to meet the deadline due designs’ adjustments.

Mandala said in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the bureau has been unable to acquire some of the equipment from countries like China.

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The laboratory and office complex is expected to house new and state-of-the-art testing equipment.

Vice President Saulos Chilima inaugurated the construction works in 2017 under the reforms agenda before he fell out with his then boss, former President Peter Mutharika.

“The works should be completed in the next nine to ten months because first of all, we have to acquire the equipment. As it is, the project is at 96 percent.

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“But we have the heating ventilation and air conditioning system that will be coming from China, now to have that fabricated, manufactured and shipped into the country we need three to four months, then we talk of installation,” Mandala said.

He then disclosed that the hydrological studies that were done prior to the project proved to be different after the project commenced.

The K12.4 billion-worth project according to Mandala, falls under the Standardisation, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (Sqam) project, which as an area of reform also calls for quality infrastructure.

Commenting on the project after touring the site last week, Chilima said when completed, the infrastructure will not just save resources for the government but also generate resources for Malawi.

“It’s very good work I must say, because we came here in 2017 to lay the foundation stone and three years later we are seeing a building that is almost complete. This is commendable.

“The workmanship is good and the way they are managing the workflow is also good. This is one of the fruits of our reforms programs it’s a laboratory that will both save money for Malawi and bring money into this country as we will be testing different things,” Chilima said.

The MBS is a statutory organization established in 1972 by an Act of Parliament, with a mandate to promote metrology, standardisation and quality assurance of commodities and of the manufacture, production, processing or treatment thereof; and further to provide for matters incidental to, or connected with standardisation

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