Kaieteur News- The monitoring of products in any country for conformance to standards is essential for consumers to get the level of satisfaction and benefits they need from such products. The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), under its Product Compliance Services Department, ensures that goods offered for sale are labelled and are of acceptable quality in accordance with the requirements of national standards.
Today, as mandated by the Standards Act of 1984 and amendment of 1997, the GNBS monitors 17 categories of products under its purview. Whether imported or locally manufactured, inspections are conducted at ports of entry, warehouses and at sale outlets to ensure products meet requirements.
The products monitored by the GNBS are: Electrical/Electronic appliances, Tyres (new and used), Textiles, Garments, Footwear, PVC pipes, Weighing and Measuring Devices, Furniture, Electrical Fittings and Equipment, Gas stoves, Cigarettes, Safety matches, Helmets for road users, Gold Articles, Cellular phones, Decorative lighting outfits, and Toys and Playthings.
It is important to note that the Bureau does not monitor commodities such as foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, plants and animals, meats and seafood, as is the perception of many. It is only mandated to develop standards pertaining to these commodities, which are regulated by other agencies.
The monitoring process is very straightforward. Firstly, all importers, manufacturers and dealers of products monitored by the Bureau are required to register annually with the Standards Body. To register, each stakeholder must complete the requisite form and pay the annual fee. Products imported in commercial quantity are flagged for inspection by the GNBS. Once the inspection fee is paid, arrangements are made to inspect the consignment at the ports of entry, points of sale, or at warehouses.
Additionally, surveillance inspections are conducted at manufacturing premises and at dealers’ sale outlets, countrywide. In the case of products (tyres, footwear) which require proper storage prior to and during sale, Inspectors conduct routine checks to ensure that storage requirements are adhered to thus avoiding product deterioration.
Conforming products are released for sale to consumers and the appropriate actions are taken by the GNBS when products fail to comply with requirements. These actions include, placing products on hold pending relabelling, request for the submission of test certificates proving conformance to quality requirements, and adjustments to the method of storage. There are also instances where commodities are seized and destroyed by the GNBS or importers are asked to reship non-complying items to the country of origin.
Last year, 456 importers, 357 dealers and 19 manufacturers registered with the Bureau, which resulted in approximately 3,400 inspections conducted. There was a notable decline in Surveillance inspection due to precautions taken at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For 2021, the GNBS will intensify the monitoring of products that fall under its purview to ensure compliance to available standards and guidelines, which will ultimately provide consumer protection and satisfaction.
Finally, importers, manufacturers and dealers are reminded that they all have a significant role to play when selecting, manufacturing, and selling products. Further, consumers need to develop a preference for quality and demand such at the time of purchase.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
For further information, please contact the GNBS on telephone numbers: 219-0065, 219-0066 or visit the GNBS website: www.gnbsgy.org.
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