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Authorities focussing on poor quality imports

FLASH BACK: Head of the GNBS’ Legal and Metrology Department, Shailendra Rai and GNBS’ Director, Evadnie Enniss with a large number of unapproved scales that had been seized from market vendors stallholders.

In the wake of concerns by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan about the importation of poor quality goods, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) says much depends on requests by consumers and surveillance by inspectors.

GNBS Director, Evadnee Inniss said anyone could submit concerns about a product for consideration and approval by the National Standards Council as work-item before it is assigned to a technical committee for work to commence on that standard.

She was at the time reacting to concerns by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan about the presence of low quality goods in the Guyanese market. “Too many of our private sector players seem content to chase after the quick dollar by importing a lot of cheap stuff to be sold in a low-wage economy. Some of the things are of such poor quality and low standard that I marvel that they could find a market in Guyana,” he told the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) Dinner last month.

Asked why GNBS inspectors could not take the initiative in going out into the field to identify products that might require standards, she said much depends on large numbers of consumers expressing concerns about the quality of some products as had been the case about vehicle tyres and cellular phones. “If we receive lots of consumer complaints- we do analysis every month in our monthly reports- and when we see there is an upsurge in complaints, we can take the initiative to make representation about developing that standard but nothing can happen unless we have the standard even though we see the need for it,” she told Demerara Waves Online News.  Inniss noted that last year the GNBS registered the highest number of complaints about cellular phones and so her entity took the initiative to educate, inform and caution consumers about using and choosing those items.

She noted, for example, during the Christmas Season the GNBS would be monitoring items such as fairy lights to ascertain whether they have the right labels and appropriate cautionary statements.

Depending on the type of product, tests must be conducted by an accredited testing laboratory such as one owned by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB). “It is not enough to test these goods but the test results will not be accepted if they do not emanate from an accredited testing laboratory so that is what I feel can be done,” she said.

The GNBS Director explained that Customs Officers are not authorized to return prohibited items, but it is her agency’s inspectors at Customs House who check the entries and determine whether consignments should be held for inspection to ascertain whether they comply with the standards.

Should they fail the inspection, she said they could be returned or destroyed and a destruction certificate issued.

The GNBS is not responsible for the quality and standards of food and drugs.