ESWATINI GEARS FOR INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

ESWATINI GEARS FOR INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

The Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA) has created standards that will enable Eswatini’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to compete in international markets. SWASA’s main mission is to promote quality principles and facilitate the use of standards to reduce technical barriers to trade and investment and to provide technical support for MSMEs and industrial development in order to ensure a sustainable economy. Speaking in an interview with this publication, SWASA Communications Officer Kirsten Fisher revealed that the majority of Eswatini companies were ready to compete at international level, having met and implemented the requirements of international standards. Fisher mentioned that SWASA had introduced 15 more standards, being food and agriculture standards, electricity standards, ICT standards and Conformity Assessment Standards to name a few. “This is good for the country’s economy as it means more improved quality goods or products and services if standards are implemented,” Fisher said. Fisher also stated that the implementation of standards meant improved health and safety tools for Eswatini citizens and the environment. More importantly, standards mean increased access for local producers to international markets. Fisher urged businesses to introduce standards in their businesses because International Standards made things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade. She said meeting
standards would assist organizations and entrepreneurs to improve the quality of goods and service. They would boost confidence, that is to say businesses and consumers can feel confident that the product and services they develop and, or use are safe, reliable and fit-for-purpose. Standards are launch pads for exciting new ideas, thus enhancing innovation and they give products a competitive edge. More importantly, standards reduce barriers to international trade such and assist with harmonization of laws and regulations. “Standards are central to business;
they make business transactions simpler and more efficient, assisting with risk mitigation and compliance. Basically standards assist your business to thrive,” said Fisher. Standards are crucial for any business because
they fuel the development and implementation of technologies that influence and transform the way we live, work and communicate. Behind the scenes, standards make everyday life work. They may establish size, shape, or capacity of
a product, process or system. They can specify performance of products or personnel. They also can define terms so that there is no misunderstanding among those using the standard. For example, standards help ensure that a light bulb fits the socket and appliance plugs fit power outlets. Businesses not only reduce the economic risk of their research and development activities by participating in standardization, they can also lower their overall research
and design costs by relying on previously standardized technologies and terminologies. Standards also make it easier to understand and compare competing products. Lastly, standards help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade. About SWASA The Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA) was formed by the Government of Swaziland through the Quality and Standards Act (10)
2003, and is a parastatal under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade. This Act gives SWASA the mandate of promoting standards and quality in local industry, commerce and the public sector and empowers the
Authority to be the sole custodian of all issues regarding standards and quality in Eswatini. The move to establish SWASA was in-line with regional and international trends brought about by World Trade Organization (WTO) initiatives aimed at eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and creating a neutral platform that would promote trade of quality goods and services across countries and economic blocks. Besides opening up global opportunities for trade, standardization also ensures that imported and locally manufactured goods are not harmful to human and animal lives and the environment.

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