KNOW YOUR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS

With Muhammed Sailu Bah
Welcome to another edition of know your public institutions, a columnPa Secka Standards Bureau Director General
which seeks to create awareness on the nature and work of public
institutions in the Gambia. This edition is a continuation of an
exclusive interview with Papa Secka Director General, The Gambia
Standard Bureau (TGSB) on the establishment of TGSB.Foroyaa: Sir, Can you please tell us who the partners of The Gambia
Standard Bureau are?
DG Standards Bureau: Our partners, our stakeholders are all
institutions, Public, Private, all institutions that are organized
from the consumer protection area, but also the international
organizations of standardization who are members of the international
standardization body for all services and products that are not
electro technical or telecommunications.
We are also members of the international electro technical commission,
which is responsible for all products and services that are electrical
and allied to electrical products.
We are mandated through the national quality policy, to look at the
three out of the four pillars of standardization of the quality
infrastructure, that is standardization, metrology, conformity
assessment. So above all, this affects everybody whatever institution,
private sector, has to be related to product or services.
Foroyaa: What are your modes of operations?
DG Standards Bureau: We develop standards through stakeholders, and as
I say those are our partners. We don’t develop standards on our own,
but we engage every stakeholder that has interest in particular
standards to sit in what we call a technical committee. These are the
people who deliberate on or adopt formal international standards or
relevant standards that is of priority to The Gambia.
So through those technical committees, we finalize those standards and
we take it to all the stages that are relevant to the country.
Standardisation has a procedure that is accepted, recognized. We have
a standard for everything and we also have, a standard on the
procedure to standardize and that standard is recognized by all the
international bodies ISO, IEC, ITU and also recognized and recommended
by the world trade organization in their annex iii of the technical
barrier to trade document.
They recommend that the international procedure for standardization
should be followed in the development of standards. And there are
stages in the standardization process from inception to the final
publication and all of those stages must be respected and fully
followed.
Standards are actually developed or adopted by a group of people who
have a stake or role or who have some kind of a benefit affected
through their work on the outcome of that regular standard; either in
the form of product development or in the form of service, even
systems related. These people, the major ones are the ones who come
together and form the technical committee.
For example, the technical committee on food is a committee that looks
at all food commodities, and food related matters, like hygienic
practices such as labeling of food and that is the committee which
develops standards on food.
So our mode of operation is through the technical committees which we
hope to work towards developing a standard in line with international
standards.
The chairman of the technical committee is drawn from the members of
the technical committee, but we always maintain the secretariat, the
reason is simple, we are the ones that give them the relevant
documents, we are the ones who interface with the international
standardization body, we have access to their standards and other
regional standardization bodies, or all the documentations they need
we provide it to them and we ensure that all the steps of
standardizations are followed in the development of standardization,
through publication.
I am happy to say that in 2013, the first ever standards of Gambia was
published by The Gambia Standards Bureau. There was a group of ten
standards all in the area of food, and food related products, and I
think that is a huge achievement of the bureau after only one year of
operation.