Bureau of Standards decries limited border testing capacity

Bureau of Standards decries limited border testing capacity
The new boss of the South Sudan Bureau of Standard Dr. Kuorwel Kuai addresses the gathering during his reception on Monday, December 5, 2023. [Jenifer James, The City Review]

The new chairperson of the Council of the South Sudan Bureau of Standards, Dr. Kuorwel Kuai, lamented that the institution lacks standard product testing at the points of entry and within the central laboratories.

Speaking during his reception yesterday, Kuai alleged that for years there has been a huge influx of commercial products, both edible and non-edible, getting imported into the country without quality checks.

According to him, those products come to the markets without meeting acceptable safety thresholds as required by the International Organisation for Standards (ISO), World Trade Organisation (WTO), and Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) Measures

“This is a very serious matter with grave consequences; it is a national security threat as far as the health of our people is concerned,” Kuai remarked.

“This requires concerted and collaborative efforts by the government and stakeholders. It is very urgent before it is too.”

However, he said that despite persistent challenges, the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards has made significant progress in some of the key areas, such as the development of legal instruments and setting up some of the conformity assessment services.

Also, Kuai said they have developed a few national standards and adoption of some EAC and international standards.

According to Kuorwel, the main challenges facing the bureau are inadequate financial resources, testing equipment for the laboratories, and staff mobility.

“It takes energy and adequate financial and human resources to build a meaningful bureau of standards this has been very limited to date.”

He expressed that the National Bureau of Standards is the most highly technical institution and requirements are often very competitive, demanding the service of qualified and scientifically experienced personnel.

Jackline Nyibol, a member of parliament in the national assembly, said the SSNBS need equipment for the testing to be done across all the entry points.

“Some of the equipment needed for the testing is not there. I went to the lab to see, some of the simple stays there for almost a month and have not been tested,” Nyibol said.