Call to set up National Quality Council | Sunday Observer

Call to set up National Quality Council

Setting up a National Quality Council (NQC) is paramount to formulate and implement strategies to raise the quality of products and services exported to the global market, said speakers at the launch of publications on Quality Infrastructure in Sri Lanka by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and PTB Germany in Colombo last week.

The need for a NQC has been felt strongly due to the absence an institutional framework and an effective coordination and monitoring mechanism of institutions related to the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) project of Sri Lanka.

UNIDO National Quality Expert of the NQI, Sumathy Rajasingham said the NQC will be a corner stone to develop the NQI in Sri Lanka which aims at making inroads into new markets and expanding export basket with high quality products.

“From the farm to the fork quality cuts across all spheres up to packaging. Sri Lanka’s NQI is well developed yet it is incomplete. The legal and regulatory frame work, oversight of institutions, supply and demand side issues have to be looked into,” she said.

The absence of a common quality standard for products and services in the country was also raised by panelists as a major impediment to promote products and services in the global market.

Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Sujeeva Senasinghe said there is no common standard for products in Sri Lanka and added professionals have different standards for a product which a major issue faced by my ministry and also by the country to recognize and promote products.

Concerns were also raised that Sri Lanka lacks adequate technical staff and competent persons in NQI institutions which would require an additional budget to train and recruit staff.

“The salary structure of our experts is not in line with world standards. As a result of low salaries quality standards are compromised to suit salaries. The government has not yet worked out a strategy to revise the salary structure of these employees. We will take the matter up probably at the next budget,” the minister said, adding that the NQC should address all these issues pertaining to improving quality of products and services .

German Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Jorn Rohde said as Sri Lanka aims at attracting five million tourists soon quality is critical. Environment, safety standards, enforcement of rules play a major role in promoting the country. Bali in Indonesia attracts over six million visitors each year because it meets quality standards. Too many safari jeeps at the Yala national park does not help achieve the objectives of the location.

The aim of Sri Lanka’s NQI Strategy is to set quality related functions on a course to provide high performance services that will enable SMEs, larger companies and exporters to comply with market needs. It also aims at building capacities, support the enforcement of regulations, assist environmental sustainability and ensure consumers are protected through access to quality and safe goods.

NQI has identified three objectives such as implementing the National Quality Policy with the NQC as the monitoring body of NQI, promoting Sri Lanka’s NQI system and to foster a culture of national quality consciousness while improving provision of NQI services to Sri Lankans.