In an effort to protect the health and safety of consumers through an enhanced national standards system, Government is moving swiftly to implement a National Quality Assurance System.

The first step in this effort, will take place on Wednesday, March 25, with the official launch of the Modernisation of the Barbados National Standards System (BNS) Project. Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick will deliver the feature address at the event, which will be held at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church, starting at 8:45 a.m.

The total cost of the project is US$7.29 million and from this sum, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will provide US$5 million, while Government will provide the remainder.

Apart from the modernisation of the BNS, the headquarters of the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), will also be upgraded to ensure continued functional cooperation in the development and implementation of standards across the board.

In highlighting the importance of the BNS programme, Project Coordinator, Fabian Griffin, explained that: “The upgrade to the BNS system will allow for increased trade in goods and services through more rigorous compliance with rules related to health, labelling, product quality and reliability; and to provide a framework for fair trade and fair competition.”

He also outlined the three components of the project – the strengthening of the Barbados National Standards System, modernisation of the BNSI, as well as an upgrade of its physical and technological infrastructure.

Under the first component, he said, the operations of the BNSI will be strengthened to include a review and update of its current standards; the preparation of an Academic Curriculum of Standards and Quality document and the implementation of a Workflow and Document Management System aimed at automating BNSI procedures and supporting documents via the same process.

Regarding the facelift of the BNSI facilities, Mr. Griffin said this will involve among other changes, improvements to the human resources management system; implementation of an information technology system to integrate financial applications related to the keeping of accurate budgets, treasury, accounting and acquisitions functions. It would also include the construction of new laboratories.

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