THE Minister of Trade and Industry, Tefo Mapesela, says the government will fully support the Lesotho Standards Institution (LSI) in order to ensure the country produces quality goods and services which can compete on the world market.
Mr Mapesela was speaking at a ceremony to introduce the LSI’s board of directors.
He said quality standards played an important role in the economic growth of the country by improving the competitiveness of local products and protecting consumers from sub-standard products.
The newly appointed chairman of LSI, Sam Rankoe Mphaka, said the organisation would work to effectively deliver their mandate to set the standards for local products as well as those imported into the country.
Mr Mphaka said the LSI would help to ensure that locally-produced goods and services meet international standards and to enable them to stand better chances of being sold on the world market.
“We should be able, in a few years, to count the number of jobs created as a result,” he said.
He said it was through high quality assessment that the country can produce enough to offset balance of payments and ensure that private sector becomes the major employer.
He however, said they would only effectively carry out their mandate only if the government invested significant resources in quality assessment infrastructure and human resource capital, especially at its infancy stages.
“I have learned that in most countries, national quality infrastructure is very well nurtured by government so as to attain recognition required by other trading partners so we should not be an exception,” he said.
Mr Mphaka said the country should be prepared to apply high standards in every regard and to invest in world-class equipment.
The Director of LSI, Molebatsi Rabolinyane, said the board was tasked by the ministry to lead the process of setting up the LSI and thereafter be responsible for its oversight.
“LSI is mandated to empower and assist traders and exporters to produce products and services that meet market standards, provide easy access of product testing services to allow manufacturers from various sectors such as food, leather, textile, mining health, and energy among others to ensure product safety and quality,” Mr Rabolinyane said.
He said they would develop standards that would assist industry to engage in manufacturing practices that do not pose a risk to people and the environment. Mr Rabolinyane added that they would traders and manufacturers maintain correct measurements and protect consumers from unfair trading practices.
LSI is also tasked with providing certification services for products, organisation and persons to facilitate easy access of Lesotho’s products and services into global markets thereby contributing positively towards economic growth and protection of society.
Mr Rabolinyane said they would also support the work of regulators through standards.