Legislators and cabinet representatives should understand this country’s metrological structure and its fitness to support trade and industry, failing which could affect this country’s economic take off, says Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) Engineering Sector Chairperson Obed Motsomi.
He added that because the government lacks understanding in structures of metrology, laboratories in Botswana have been left behind in terms of obtaining accreditation to international standards and this has a direct impact on the performance of the national economy. He said unreliable and unaccredited laboratories can affect this country’s economic competitiveness in the global environment.
Motsomi said non-accredited laboratories results lack acceptable confidence and thus translates to doubts in the quality of the products.
Motsomi said around ninety-eight per cent of laboratories in Botswana are not accredited and they give credible advice or results, and one should easily see how this affects our economy.
Motsomi said Botswana also needs a National Metrology Institute (NMI) for maintaining the physical standard units (SU) units and also to establish and maintain national standards scientific standards of physical quantities for the nation and compare those standards with other national standards to ensure global measurement equivalence.
NMI is also said by Motsomi to make accreditation easy as all national laboratories will attain its traceability easily.
“If this vital metrology organ (NMI) was in Botswana then the correctness of quantities and quality of products would not be compromised,” he said.
Motsomi said a motion to start a NMI was once passed in parliament to the then Minister of Trade and Industry Neo Moroka, by the then opposition MP, Robert Molefhabangwe, was then ignored and shelved as the ministry did not understand structures of metrology and its services.
Motsomi, who is also a director at Lamworld Technologies, a private sector company which provides services of calibration and metrology, said the accreditation of laboratories is vital as it gives assurance of the quality and quantity of the products being tested, measured or calibrated. Motsomi said accreditation of laboratories assures its clients that the measurements conducted are reliable and traceable to international standards.
“Accreditation of laboratories play an indispensable role in all sectors of economy or life as it contributes in determining the technical and managerial competences of laboratories to perform specific types of testing, measurements and calibration,” reiterated Motsomi.