The Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) is working on aligning local standards with those of the rest of the continent ahead of the coming into being of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFsTA).
This meant to ensure locally manufactured goods and services meet the African standards.
About 40 regional standards are primed for standardisation under this initiative and aligning local standards would allow locally made goods to be a hit on the market.
This was said by SAZ executive director Dr Eve Gadzikwa, who is also president of the African Organisation for Standards (ARSO), in Harare yesterday during the handover of the ISO 9001: 2015 certificate to Peace Security (Private) Limited.
“On the continent, we are harmonising standards. Why are we doing that? Under the African Continental Free Trade Area, a trading block that is being formed, there is need to harmonise standards,” said Dr Gadzikwa.
“Zimbabwe is signatory to that agreement (ACFTA), so we are going to be playing a very pivotal part as the Standards Association of Zimbabwe, providing standards.
“But not only the national standards which we call ZWS, Zimbabwe Standards, but also the African standards. So we are going to harmonise close to 40 regional standards and this will assist the country to be able to participate in inter-African trade.”
Dr Gadzikwa said standards are usually the “biggest stumbling block” to trade, hence the need for companies to comply with expected standards.
Other barriers to trade could be technical barriers.
“So as SAZ, we have already harmonised some of those standards. At an international level, we are also adopting international standards and one of these standards is what has been used in certifying this organisation called Peace Security,” said Dr Gadzikwa.
Peace Security chief executive officer Dr Abel Mubango, the journey to certification was “long but beneficial”.
“This gathering is to celebrate the upgrade of our certification from ISO 2001: 2008 to ISO 9001: 2015. So I would like once again to thank SAZ for working with us.
“It will help us improve our internal processes, our systems and so on, and that works in tandem with one of our main value, which is customer satisfaction.
“We want to improve our systems to make sure that we deliver value (and) we deliver quality on our standards,” said Dr Mubango.
The certificate is valid for three years.
The ISO 9001: 2015 emphasises two issues, leadership and risk.
Dr Gadzikwa said it is an improvement from the old standard after it was seen the world over that without leadership, companies cannot sustain quality management systems.
She said it was gratifying that Peace Security, which has been getting contracts from a number of top companies recently, for subscribing to the ISO 9001: 2015 standard.
Dr Gadzikwa called on the company to consider subscribing for other systems such as the environmental management systems and occupational health and safety, to cater for employees.
Source : The Herald