BARBADOS / BAHAMAS – Businesses in The Bahamas will be better able to meet international criteria under a new project valued at over EUR 400,000 which is being supported by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Union (EU).
Funding of EUR 434, 923 is being provided under the EPA and CSME Standby Facility to establish a new mobile laboratory at the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ). The funding will outfit the BBSQ lab and train staff as the agency expands its services to meet the needs of the business community.
The new lab will provide globally accepted mass and volume services and expertise to ensure consistency and accuracy in the quantities used in production across sectors. Conforming to international benchmarks will ensure consistency in cross border trade and afford exporters the ability to access new markets having satisfied set criteria more easily.
Upon completion of the two-year project, The Bahamas will have a fully operational mobile metrology lab providing calibration and testing for the needs of BBSQ’s expansive clientele which includes petroleum, pharmaceuticals, utilities and construction industries across more than 30 inhabited islands.
Speaking at the launch of the project on January 12, Daniel Best, director projects department, CDB stated: “These upgrades will aid in making locally produced commodities more globally competitive. An enabling environment which incorporates adequate quality infrastructure is mandatory if the private sector is to expand and thrive. In the current environment, business expansion, private sector partnership and engagement are critical for not only economic survival but for the growth of local industry.”
EU ambassador Marianne Van Steen, who also delivered remarks at the project launch, indicated that the “… intervention will have the potential to make trade fairer, promote innovation and competitiveness, increase exports to regional and international markets, and ultimately, contribute to the economic growth of The Bahamas.” The EU is funding all EPA and CSME Standby Facility Projects being supervised by CDB with 13 projects underway. The Standby Facility is part of a wider EU programme valued at EUR 21 million focused on the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The Bahamas’ minister for economic affairs Michael Halkitis expressed appreciation to its international development partners for the assistance.
“I cannot sufficiently stress the importance of having reliable metrology services in our country. […] The establishment of this new laboratory and expansion of the metrology unit will translate into even greater proficiency and efficiency. Today with the support of the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Union and the BBSQ and the resourcefulness of the ministry of economic affairs and the commitment of our national and regional stakeholders The Bahamas is making significant strides in bolstering metrology services,” he indicated.
Yvanatte Baron-George, deputy programme manager, CARIFORUM Directorate, in providing context for the project, stated that “the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas recognised that strengthening the domestic economy and facilitating growth in the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME) sector will be dependent on improved trade facilitation as well as the exploitation of the market access afforded by the EPA. Key to enhancing the capacity of firms to meet increasingly stringent market access requirements is ensuring the establishment of a robust National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) and standards that will benefit both exporters and domestic industries which the project is addressing.”
The Standby Facility is a EUR8.75 million resource managed by CDB, which offers opportunities to 15 Caribbean economies to grow trade, deepen integration and economic involvement; and impact competitiveness, market access, and exports by implementing targeted projects in thematic areas.