The Executive Director of Sierra Leone’s Standards Bureau, Thomas B.R. Yormah, on Thursday 24th October 2019, at the Youyi Building in Freetown, said, 70% of the containers leave the port area without undergoing any quality inspection. Yormah said quality checks rest within their mandate, but because of the inadequate space provided to them at the Queen Elizabeth Quay, their operations are seriously impeded at the Quay. He said those products in the containers that escape inspection will enter the market without the knowledge of the Bureau. He revealed that the country’s porous borders seriously undermine their operations to inspect goods brought into the country. “Ideally, we should be able to carry out our quality inspection at all landing borders, but currently, we are only present at two borders, Queen Elizabeth Quay, and the Gbalamuya on the Guinea/Sierra Leone border. He said another key challenge they face is that most importers do not bring their products to them for testing and this provides another route for substandard goods. This means that substandard goods can come into the country via other entry points, including Lungi Airport, Gendema and the host of the other unofficial entry points on our porous borders”, Yormah said. “… the biggest challenge we have at the Queen Elizabeth Quay is that we have not been given adequate space to do meaningful quality inspection so that at least 60- 70% of the containers leave the port premises without undergoing quality inspection.”
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On the other hand, the Manager for Inspections, Queen Elizabeth Quay, Mohamed Osman Bah, said only questionable products are given for testing. He revealed that 80% of the importers do not meet the proper requirements for importing goods into the country. He said for one to be eligible to import the individual should produce a quality certificate, and a certificate of conformity which most of these importers do not have.
By Sulaiman Karim Sesay
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