In­dus­try min­istry strug­gling to fin­ish re­quire­ments for int’l cer­ti­fi­ca­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - An­dre.poyser@glean­erjm.com

THE IM­PLE­MEN­TA­TION of the ISO 9001:2008 Qual­ity Man­age­ment Sys­tem across the 15 di­vi­sions, de­part­ments and agen­cies of the in­dus­try and com­merce port­fo­lio of the Min­istry of In­dus­try, Com­merce, Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries (MICAF) does not ap­pear to be go­ing well.

The min­istry has been pur­su­ing In­ter­na­tional Stan­dards Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISO) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion since 2010.

ISO in­ter­na­tional stan­dards are adopted by many gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies, as this makes it eas­ier for them to do busi­ness with in­ter­na­tional part­ners.

In­ter­na­tional Stan­dards are the back­bone of in­ter­na­tional busi­ness, en­sur­ing the safety and qual­ity of prod­ucts and ser­vices, fa­cil­i­tat­ing in­ter­na­tional trade and en­sur­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Con­for­mity to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards helps re­as­sure con­sumers that prod­ucts, sys­tems and or­gan­i­sa­tions are safe, re­li­able and good for the en­vi­ron­ment.

Sev­eral sta­tus re­ports of ISO im­ple­men­ta­tion at MICAF, ob­tained by The Gleaner, in­di­cate that the ma­jor tasks and tar­gets have ei­ther been only par­tially achieved or not achieved at all.

The agen­cies and de­part­ments tar­geted for im­ple­men­ta­tion, which should have com­pleted edit­ing and ap­proval of the core pro­cesses and ISO­con­trolled doc­u­ments, have failed to do so. The mock in­ter­nal au­dits that should have been con­ducted from 2014 have con­stantly had to be post­poned be­cause heads of de­part­ments are yet to com­plete the req­ui­site ISO doc­u­men­ta­tion. The fail­ure of de­part­ment heads to fi­nalise the doc­u­men­ta­tion process has frus­trated all ef­forts of the ISO unit to get the min­istry cer­ti­fied.

2013 STA­TUS RE­PORT

Sta­tus re­ports from as far back as 2013 chron­i­cle a frus­trat­ing story of missed dead­lines, lack of fund­ing, un­com­mit­ted heads of de­part­ments, and a snail’s-pace ap­proach to com­plet­ing doc­u­ments re­quired for the im­ple­men­ta­tion process.

Act­ing di­rec­tor of the ISO Unit in the min­istry, Dr GraceAnn Biggs Allen, has, in the se­ries of re­ports, lamented the slow process and what she de­scribes as an in­her­ent chal­lenge of lack of funds to en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of the pro­gramme.

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