By Precious Gaye
The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Elias Shoniyin has called for more support for the National Standards Laboratory of Liberia to enable the agency be more effective in carrying out its functions.
On Tuesday October 13, 2015 Acting Minister Shoniyin had a one day meeting with officials of the National Standards Laboratory (NSL) on Lynch Street in Monrovia.
Minister Elias Shoniyin during the acquaintance meeting stated that although he was unaware of the activities of the Laboratory, he would lobby for support through engagements with partners that include Japan, China and others on a regular basis.
Min. Shoniyin assured that he will lobby with government partners to provide training opportunities, identify national priorities and expand exports.
Citing evidence of the way forward that could be linked to the economic pillar of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) II, Economic transformation and Liberia’s drive to meeting World Trade Organization (WTO), Shoniyin stated that “Every developing country competitive advantage is agriculture,” he stated.
He added that the strategy of many countries is to run an agriculture export driven economy where you strengthen your agriculture programs, strengthen agriculture laws and policy, strengthen regimes, though that does not give you the potential to export until you can set the standards, ensuring that you meet the Sanitary Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) requirements.
Shoniyin pointed out that internationally, these are the kinds of standards Liberia needs to begin to invest in, to be able to set the basics for full participation in achieving the WTO objectives.
According to Minister Shoniyin, one of the major objectives of this government is to increase trade, production, which makes the Laboratory a key component in the National Agenda for Transformation.
Following a briefing on proposal from the Chinese Ambassador by Assistant Minister for Commerce and Industry Mohammed Turay , Minister Shoniyin disclosed that “ I believe strongly that the Japanese can fund this program, we could raise up to half a million from the Japanese program.”
According to an overview report of the laboratory which was launched and opened in September 2011,it operates as a calibration and testing facility, the activity at the Laboratory is a project being implemented through (UNIDO) and works as a branch under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.