The Gambia Standards Bureau is severely under-funded- DG


By Muhammad Bah The Director General of The Gambia standards Bureau (TGSB), Mr. Papa Secka, told the National Assembly joint Public Accounts and PublicEnterprises (PAC/ PEC) Committee that his institution is being under-funded since its establishment. Mr. Secka said TGSB is receiving a constant amount of six million dalasi subvention from government for three years in a row with leaving little room for growth. This, he added, has seriously limited the Bureau’s stability even in terms of mobility with only one operation vehicle. He, however, noted that Bureau has the opportunity to be financially independent within a relatively short period of time, given its service-oriented income-generating features. “As a young institution, it needs a strong financial resource to put in place the most basic structures that paves the way for financial self-sustenance,” said the DG Secka. He also noted that this opportunity is being compromised by the severe under-funding. Mr. Secka told the PAC/PEC that Bureau is currently renting its office which, he said, is not financially sustainable. He said the Bureau needs to have its own land in order to build the suitable structures and facilities that enhance its work and services being offered. This requirement, he added, has become urgent in view of the big demand on its service by industry and enterprises. The TSGB Director General told the members of the PAC/PEC that the Bureau has been able to deliver on its key mandate of standardization by publishing the nations first set of standards on products of national priority. He said it has built capacity and improved the technical competence of its staff and that of its stakeholders are involved in the work of technical committees under its purview. He underscored the importance of awareness, adding that it is key to the work of the Bureau which continues to increase the scope and coverage of its awareness creation activities. DG Secka told the law makers that the Bureau’s visibility has improved both nationally and internationally and that it has been making its regional contributions. “The main mandate of the Bureau is to standardize methods and products produce in the Gambia and for connected matters,” he said. He emphasized that the priority of the Bureau is the development of the most urgently-needed standards for country. DG Secka also told the National Assembly Members in the PAC/PEC that a review of the previous efforts and progress reveal that standards on food and connected issues e.g. hygiene and labeling, were top priority both for government and the public. This, he added, resulted in the setting up of the first Technical Committee (TC) on food which reviewed and adopted ten 10 standards on food and related matters that under-went a further stakeholder-engagement. He reported that upon the finalization and approval by the board of directors and the appending of the signature of the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, the standards were officially published in the national gazette in July 2013.    ]]>