With MUHAMMED SAILU BAH
Welcome to another edition of Know Your Public Institutions Column which seeks to create awareness on the nature and work of public institutions in the Gambia. This edition is a continuation of the exclusive interview with Mr. Papa Secka, the Director General Gambia Standard Bureau (TGSB) on the nature and work of the Bureau.
Foroyaa: How do you operate in the area of Metrology?
DG Standards Bureau: Thank you for asking that important question. But before I answer your question, I would like to define Metrology. Metrology is actually the science of measurement and it is different from Meteorology. It deals with all things relate to measurements such as the measurement devices that are used, the scales, the balances, the thermometers and the physical standards that are used for those measurement devices. For example the kilogram, the litre, or the metre and how do we show they are accurate every time, and they ensure that the traders or people who measure out there do not cheat the consumers and the consumers also get value for their money. Now that assurance is gone through the work of National Metrology Institute and in the Gambia we call it the National Metrology Laboratory which is under the Bureau. This Laboratory, for the first time in the Gambia, houses the physical standards that are different from the standards as a document. These are physical standards, like the Kilogram, Litre, Metre, Pressure or Temperature nad these are physical standards that are housing in a very specific condition and are traceable to the international standards internationally.
From there we distribute it throughout the country. How? For example, we come to a factory A and look at your physical standards or you call us to look at your physical standards, check against our reference which is the most accurate and see what are the errors of your standards and through that we give you a certificate by which we define how accurate your standard is and the errors that are related to it. If this goes beyond the acceptable error, you know whether you should discard it or you should maintain, and through that you ensure accurate measurement on whatever you measure.
Right now I can tell you for the first time in the history of the Gambia we calibrated the primary standards of the Legal Metrology Department that is the Weight and Measures Bureau which is actually under the Ministry of Trade and not under The Gambia Standard Bureau.
Foroyaa: Do you have any working tools or documents you use as a guide?
DG Standards Bureau: The Bureau has developed its Strategic Plan which is a five year Strategic Plan 2015-2019, and that is our document in which we roll out our mandates.
Secondly the Policy document on quality is the National Quality Policy, which we also developed in partnership with the ministry of trade. This was approved by cabinet in June 2014 and that is the encyclopedia of the policy in the Gambia. You may want to call the parable of Policy in the Gambia, it contains everything relating to Policy and it is also another working document. In that policy we are given the role to work on three of the quality pillars in policy making.