BY BLAIR MHONE
With an influx of locally made and imported products flooding the country’s shops and markets, the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS), has bemoaned the tendency of consumers not coming forward with complaints when they encounter products that do not conform to mandatory set Malawi Standards.
Director of Metrology Services at the bureau, Thomas Senganimalunje made the remarks today in Mzuzu during the closing of a two-day interface with media practitioners under Nyika Media Club.
In his remarks, Senganimalunje said the lack of complaints makes it harder for the bureau to determine or investigate products that might be harmful or exploiting consumers.
“Many consumers tend to suffer in silence when they consume or use services that do not meet Malawi Standards and this can end up causing serious harm or damage in the long run,” said Senganimalunje.
He added that when consumers do not report, it is hard for MBS to perform its functions of protecting consumers as well as looking at the health, safety and welfare of the public.
He also disclosed that inadequate knowledge on which regulator body is mandated to regulate which goods or services is another major challenge with the bureau at times receiving complaints that do not fall under its jurisdiction.
“There are many areas where MBS is sometimes mistaken as the regulator, because in some instances we just offer our laboratory testing services to most organizations that do not have their own test facilities but we are not the mandated regulators,” he added.
On this he said the media plays a crucial role in providing information to the general public on the MBS services as well Malawi Standards.
“There is need for more sensitization to the masses especially in rural areas where the bureau lacks physical presence and the media should play a major role in this.
“The media being a persuasive tool we believe can assist in making sure consumers know more about product certification schemes as regards to Malawi Standards,” he said.
Nyika Media Club Chairperson Joseph Mwale while acknowledging gaps in the role the media can play in aiding MBS sensitization, he said the media practitioners themselves need to be knowledgeable on the mandate and functions of MBS hence the engagement was very important.
“This interface is very important for our members as many may not be aware of MBS works. The knowledge gained here will go a long way in improving their reporting,” said Mwale.
During the meeting which was attended by 25 media personnel based in Mzuzu, MBS sensitized them in standards development, quality assurance and monitoring, testing services as well as metrology services.
The two entities also agreed to continue the partnership, with MBS pledging to engage community based media institutions for maximum reach of its messages.