Business

Min of Trade hosts standards workshop

Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE Ministry of Trade and Industry recently held a workshop for its stakeholders to encourage them to participate in the operationalisation of the Lesotho Standards Institution (LSI).

The workshop was in line with the ministry’s drive to implement the LSI Act of 2014. The LSI is a national standards body, which will support the implementation of standards and related conformity assessment activities including testing, certification and inspection.

The workshop comprised of awareness and a two-day training for stakeholders that included small to medium enterprises among others. It was supported by the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN), an initiative by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the United Kingdom government.

CSN seeks to promote the use and awareness of international standards, and to improve technical and institutional capacity to use and develop international standards among its members.

This is done to facilitate trade among Commonwealth members and to reduce unnecessary technical barriers to trade and promote trade through the use of international standards.

The workshop was facilitated by a representative of BSI Shyam Kumar Gujadhur, who presented on the background of CSN, trade facilitation through standards and technical regulations, standards background and the key benefits.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Habofanoe Lehana, who officially opened the workshop, expressed gratitude to BSI and the UK government for their support.

“The CSN platform encourages collaboration between national standards bodies, supports information exchange and peer learning,” Mr Lehana said.

He said Lesotho is about to establish its own standards, which will go a long way in assisting to fast track Lesotho Standards Institution to attain the desired and recognised level that they are looking for.

He said the government is responding to the standards call by operationalising the LSI.

“The establishing legislation seeks to create our own national standards body. Lesotho desperately needs this body to develop her own standards and adopt international standards and run in tandem with her trading partners.”

In his presentation at the workshop, Mr Gujadhur said intra-commonwealth investments generate three times more jobs than investments from non-commonwealth countries.

He said intra commonwealth trade and productive investments are on track to exceed US$1 trillion by 2020.

“Commonwealth countries on average tend to trade around 20 percent more and generate 10 percent more investments with each other than with nonmember countries,” Mr Gujadhur said.

He said bilateral costs for trading partners in commonwealth countries are on average 19 percent less than those in nonmember countries. He said the network will provide a significant opportunity for national standards expects to collaborate and share best practices.

Mr Gujadhur said this would empower developing countries such as Lesotho to have a stronger voice in the international standards community.

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