A two-day forum aimed at training and educating journalists and other media professionals on how to report on the West African Quality System Programme (WAQSP) and to disseminate information of quality product on the Liberian Market has ended in Monrovia.
The forum, which began on September 15 to 16 was organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) through the WAQSP, and brought together 20 journalists and 12 communication experts from various media outlets in the country.
The program is being sponsored by the European Union and implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for ECOWAS and ECOWAS countries.
WAQSP is intended to promote fair trade on the Liberian market as well as strengthening the country’s quality policy on products that would be sold on the international markets and infrastructure for greater effectiveness of imported and exported products.
Mr. Mohammed Turay, Assistant Minister for Industry at Commerce, said the essence of the training is to educate journalists on the role of quality infrastructure standards reporting to ensure that the public can fully be informed about the quality products that they purchase.
According to him, in the absence of quality infrastructure, there wouldn’t be fair trade on the market, because the customers do not know the quality of their products.
He stated that as Liberia is gradually becoming part of WAQSP and acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO) it would stop the disadvantage of consumers.
Joseph Weah, National Coordinator of the WAQSP Liberia and director of National Standards Laboratory (NSL), said the overall objective of the programme is to strengthen regional economic integration and trade by creating an environment that facilitates compliance with international trade rules and technical regulations of particular importance which are World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements on Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures.
“Five thematic areas were supported by the programme both at regional and national levels including Quality Promotion, Quality Policy, Quality Infrastructure and Standardization, Metrology and Accreditation” he recalled.
Weah explained that the programme made achievements at the Regional and National levels, specifically for Liberia, as it enabled the country to set up its national quality infrastructure namely the National Standard Laboratory (NSL) in actualizing the functionality of the institution in services to private and public sectors of the country.
He disclosed that WAQSP further support the country in the area provision of lab equipment for the testing labs (Chemical and microbiology labs) and the metrology/calibration lab, training of the technical Staff of these laboratories, rehabilitation of the testing Labs (Microbiology and Chemistry)
He said that the bureau wants quality issues to become household name in Liberia, and journalists have a role to play in that drive.
Facilitating the forum, John Oppong-Otoo, WAQSP national technical coordinator for Ghana and a resource person for the workshop, said the training workshop will create and instill quality consciousness among journalists and other media professionals on quality and standards.
“It is expected that after the training, you will understand and become ambassadors in quality promotion,” he said.
He said the training served as a unique opportunity for the participants to be acquainted with WAQSP and overall quality systems in Liberia.
For his part, Axel Addy, Minister of Commerce, expressed his gratitude to journalists and organizers that participated in the training.
He therefore, hope that journalists can use the opportunity to educate the public about quality and called on the small business department of the ministry to hold similar program for journalists in order to acquit them about the ministry activities.
The Minister added that Liberia cannot be built without the media because journalists are there to report on issues that are affecting country.