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.