US$9m IDB loan secured for National Quality Infrastructure

-project aimed at boosting competitiveness of Guyana’s exports

Guyana National Bureau of Standards technical staff

Government is embarking on a US$9 million project to build capacity in the area of national quality infrastructure to enhance the country’s competitiveness on the international food market.

The Ministry of Business has shared with Stabroek Business details of the project titled `Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) for Economic Diversification and Trade Promotion’ which is being financed through an Inter-American Development Bank-funded loan.

NQI embraces a clutch of national institutions that enhance a country’s competitiveness by offering proof that products and services adhere to national regulations and requirements and those of the marketplace.

When applied effectively they facilitate international trade and contribute to technology upgrading and absorption.

The project which seeks to support economic diversification and exports by both enhancing the NQI and through the creation of a National Export Promotion Creation Strategy, has targeted as its specific objectives the upgrading of the capacity of the NQI, improving the facilities of the NQI and enhancing the capability of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) to effectively pursue its export and investment promotion mandate.

The Project will be rolled out in three sub-components, the first of these being the modernization of the institutional framework of the NQI which will pay particular attention to enhancing the capability of the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) to reliably execute its quality assurance responsibilities. In pursuit of this objective, the briefing information provided to the Stabroek Business says that the exercise will have the effect of “strengthening the areas of technical regulations, compliance, conformity, accreditation and training, and capacity building of public and private stakeholders.”

The first sub-component of the project will also realize the streamlining of the governance structure of the NQI to include the needs of the private sector. In this regard priority will be given to the needs of the non-traditional exporters. Critically, this phase of the project will include the creation of  a network of laboratories “in order to promote the most efficient use of the current facilities.”

The first sub-component of the project also makes provision for training to be conducted aimed at enhancing the capacity of the personnel at the GNBS.

The training will also seek to respond to “the common needs of stakeholders in the network of the laboratories” including managerial and operational functionaries. The network of laboratories which will operate under the GNBS  will seek to create an evaluation system that will collect data on the users of the NQI.

The second sub-component of the Project will target the creation of new facilities to house metrology, testing, and legal metrology, provide the required equipment for the adequate functioning of the GNBS as well as specific equipment for the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). In order to ensure the sustainability of the new facilities the project embraces an initiative that involves the creation of a business plan for cost recovery as well as a maintenance plan for the equipment.

The third sub-component, the implementation of a National Export and Investment Strategy, will target the enhancement of Guyana’s ability to connect with regional and global value chains through the promotion of exports and foreign direct investment, particularly in agribusiness.