Maintaining standards through policy

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Eshete Asfaw, State Minister of MoTI (Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

The first quality policy that is currently under discussion with stakeholders is to be tabled for the Council of Ministers for ratification.

Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) also drafted the first trade policy that took several times to include international expertise, while the existed industry policy is under revision.

Eshete Asfaw, State Minister of MoTI, told Capital that Ethiopia has formed relevant National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) agencies but it does not have a policy framework that shall lead the agencies.

“The regulatory bodies like Ethiopian Standards Agency, Conformity Assessment Agency, and Ethiopian National Accreditation Office have been formed to control quality and standard but they do not have policy that help to run on given legal framework,” he said.

The policy shall abide by legal framework that allows the country to be competitive, “the policy will allow us to develop required legal frameworks under the goal of the policy,” he explained.

He said that the policy will cover every diminution of production quality whether it is service or goods.

“For instance a hotel that has a five star standard would be investigated on its rate quality as per the policy,” he said expressing that, “We have 253 compulsory standards and there are about 11,200 voluntary Ethiopian standards that would be supported by policy to enforce properly.”

He said that quality standard on goods is a universal language that creates consensus in every corner of the world. “In the past, we faced challenges on our coffee and sesame quality but if we have such policy the problem shall be elevated and the export shall be expanded. At the same time under quality products would receive refusal for import,” he added.

Currently the policy is under discussion before tabled to the Council of Ministers.

On the other hand, MoTI has drafted the first trade policy that targets to boost the trade in the country.

The policy will evaluate everything from the scratch and indicate the end goal of the commercial sector; it will also show the actors and contributors in commerce.

“It took more time for ratification by the Council of Ministers, while we have accomplished it,” Eshete said.

“We had developed the first trade policy but now we considered that it is supposed to consider the current and future exposure in trade. Due to that experts with international experience have now revised the draft trade policy which explains the delay.”

“Regarding policy crafting, it is supposed to work for several periods thus it is undertaken in detail and shows future strategies,” he explained showing why the policy development takes several periods.

The ministry has been announced that it commence the policy work on trade early 2019.

In the local market hording, smuggling, overstating price increases, and uncontrollable and lack of adequate supply in terms of goods and services have been major problems over the past several years. The Ministry has attempted to come up with solutions by imposing laws and controlling mechanisms to smash illegality and or supply products on its own but things have not gone as per the demand.

For international trade; contraband, contract defaults, artificial rates and weak export earnings have been major challenges, while there are improvements since last year.

In related development MoTI is revising the industry policy.