Taking the process forward towards finalization of a working draft of the National Quality Policy, The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) organized the National Quality Policy (NQP) Discussion Workshop on Tuesday, 26 February in Islamabad in collaboration with the European Union funded Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA II) programme, which is implemented by UNIDO in association with ITC and WIPO. The MoST initiated the development of a National Quality Policy at the end of 2012 with the support of the TRTA II programme and in this regard, specialised Focus Group meetings were held earlier in Karachi and Lahore, which were followed by a National Quality Forum in Islamabad. These meetings identified the major challenges and issues, constituting a framework for this NQP Discussion Workshop. The stakeholders attending this consultative workshop discussed in-depth the identified challenges and proposed a rational way forward. With an intent to deliberate upon issue that could be made part of the 1stWorking Draft of the National Quality Policy.
Mr. Akhlaq Ahmed Tarar, Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology on this occasion said that conformity assessment services are provided by public and private sector inspection, testing and certification organizations. They are supported by a metrology institute that ensures calibrated measuring equipment, a standards body that publishes standards and an accreditation body that determines their technical competency. He further said that the collection of these institutions is collectively known as the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) and, in Pakistan, the NQI does not meet these requirements and battles to gain international recognition. Organizations such as PSQCA, PNAC and the NPSL which are under the Ministry of Science and Technology may have provided useful services in the past but all these need radical organizational changes. The National Quality Policy shall therefore opportune for the whole system in Pakistan to be reviewed, measured against international good practices, and where found wanting, re-engineered. A National Quality Policy is the vehicle to achieve this.
Mr. Martin Kellermann, TRTA II International Expert said that Pakistan has started the journey well to develop a new National Quality Policy. They must now complete the journey. International recognition is not negotiable; we have realities in the country. We need to cater cognizance of that and, in between, these two requirements, we need to find a way forward.
The outcome of this workshop shall provide the NQP drafting team with some in-depth recommendations for the stakeholders. This workshop also waves way for the 2ndFocus Group meeting which is scheduled for July 2013, in which the final draft of the National Quality Policy will be considered.