The ministry of science and technology has decided to outsource inspection of the mandatory food and non-food items.
By Kalbe Ali
The ministry floated the information on its website, but officials and the experts in various departments of the ministry expressed concern over the plan.
Currently, quality and standard of over 160 items are mandated for inspection to the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), an attached department of the ministry.
However, under the plan, private labs and companies would be issuing conformity certificates, licenses and marking of the items after the test. The ministry is going to hire consultants for finalising the proposals.
An official of the ministry said that outsourcing would be like shifting of mandatory food of the PSQCA, and various departments of the authority would be made redundant.
The decision to outsource the authority’s functions is tantamount to violation of the PSQCA Act, 1996, and the proposed model violates various agreements with international standards bodies and organisations.
The officials fear downsizing in the authority as outsourcing under the proposed public-private partnership programme would result in loss of around 40 per cent revenues earned by the PSQCA.
The outsourcing plan has suggested that the task of inspections, testing and conformity assessment according to relevant Pakistan Standards Specifications requirements will be made by the Third Party (Public Private Partnership) inspectors in view of the limited technical human resource at the PSQCA.
Originally published by Dawn