Trinidad and Tobago (TT) will soon have a draft national quality policy which, the Ministry of Trade and Industry says, will guide the establishment of an appropriate quality infrastructure.
The National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) relates to all aspects of metrology, standardisation, testing, quality management, certification and accreditation. It includes both public and private institutions and the regulatory framework within which they operate.
"The development of this Policy will see greater consumer protection in terms of regulations that prevent false and misleading labelling and advertising; increased competitiveness; greater innovation and a higher degree of technology transfer, thereby enhancing the capability of our manufacturers to effectively trade nationally, regionally and internationally," the ministry today stated.
In an effort to validate the findings of a series of engagements with stakeholders; with intent of finalising both the Draft National Quality Policy and an implementation plan, a Stakeholder Validation Workshop was held on August 10.
It was hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS); an Agency of the ministry, in collaboration with the Mesopartner team of consultants, at Hilton Trinidad, Port-of-Spain.
The ministry's Acting Permanent Secretary, Frances Seignoret, assured stakeholders that, "The National Quality Policy, which we anticipate will be completed by the end of this month, will impact all sectors of the economy including but not limited to: the health and safety of consumers, environmental protection, social responsibility, sustainable development and national security. Moreover, the Policy will provide exporters with a platform for penetrating markets regionally and globally with high quality, competitive products."
Seignoret acknowledged the gaps which exist in TT’s quality infrastructure and noted the importance of the development and implementation of an effective National Quality System.
The ministry also said she underscored the importance of Policy implementation and called for continued stakeholder input and co-operation to ensure the successful development and effective operationalisation of the National Quality Policy.
Earlier in the proceedings, the TTBS' Executive Director, Theodore Reddock, expressed appreciation for the continued support and participation thus far in the development of the Policy.
Mesopartner is a knowledge firm that specialises in economic development, competitiveness and innovation. Its founder, Dr Ulrich Harmes-Liedtke, delivered a presentation at the workshop on the importance of a Quality Policy/Strategy for TT.
"A National Quality Policy will aid in creating a quality culture and improving the appreciation of quality in all bases of the economy and society. Investment in a quality infrastructure is key for increased competitiveness and diversification," Harmes-Liedtke stated.