Industry ministry struggling to complete requirements for international certificaton
The implementation of the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System across the 15 divisions, departments and agencies of the industry and commerce portfolio of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) does not appear to be going well.
The ministry has been pursuing International Standards Organisation (ISO) certification since 2010.
ISO international standards are adopted by many governments and companies, as this makes it easier for them to do business with international partners.
International Standards are the backbone of international business, ensuring the safety and quality of products and services, facilitating international trade and ensuring environmental protection.
Conformity to international standards helps reassure consumers that products, systems and organisations are safe, reliable and good for the environment.
Several status reports of ISO implementation at MICAF, obtained by The Gleaner, indicate that the major tasks and targets have either been only partially achieved or not achieved at all.
The agencies and departments targeted for implementation, which should have completed editing and approval of the core processes and ISO-controlled documents, have failed to do so. The mock internal audits that should have been conducted from 2014 have constantly had to be postponed because heads of departments are yet to complete the requisite ISO documentation. The failure of department heads to finalise the documentation process has frustrated all efforts of the ISO unit to get the ministry certified.
2013 STATUS REPORT
Status reports from as far back as 2013 chronicle a frustrating story of missed deadlines, lack of funding, uncommitted heads of departments, and a snail's-pace approach to completing documents required for the implementation process.
Acting director of the ISO Unit in the ministry, Dr Grace-Ann Biggs Allen, has, in the series of reports, lamented the slow process and what she describes as an inherent challenge of lack of funds to ensure the sustainability of the programme.