The Mauritian economy is steadily opening itself to international competition bringing in its wake new opportunities and challenges. Many economic sectors are under close scrutiny to re-engineer their competitiveness through quality improvements with a view to unlocking new overseas markets as well as establishing their position on the domestic market. It is widely recognized that one of the underpinnings favouring international competitiveness and international trade is a reliable and traceable measurement system, an accredited conformity assessment structure, a transparent and consensual standardization infrastructure and a widely recognized accreditation system. These are the four pillars of what is commonly termed as the Mauritian Quality Infrastructure. The Mauritius Standards Bureau is an integral part of the Mauritian Quality Infrastructure.
The Mauritius Standards Bureau is a parastatal body operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection. It was created in 1975 with the mandate to develop national standards and provide conformity assessment services. The Bureau became a corporate body under the Mauritius Standards Bureau Act 1993 with decision making authority vested upon a Board namely the Standards Council. The change of status brought in its wake a new dynamism. The organizational structure was revamped to accompany the new strategic intents of the Bureau. Presently, there are five separate and distinct technical units namely the Standards Development Unit for the elaboration of standards, the Engineering Unit and the Chemical Unit for the testing of a wide range of products, the Quality Assurance & Training Unit for product and management systems certification and the organization of training courses on Standardisation, Quality Assurance and related systems and the Metrology Unit for the calibration of equipment in industry and for the custody of national measurement standards. In addition the Business Development Unit, the Documentation and Information Centre, the Finance Division, the Human Resource Division and the Administrative Division provide support to these technical units.
Today, the Mauritius Standards Bureau can boast of having a traceable and scientifically based comprehensive measurement system, an efficient and effective standards development process to develop standards and a modern conformity assessment structure which provides confidence to the stakeholders and the public in general that the certified and tested goods and services meet customers’ and regulatory requirements.
The overriding focus of MSB is to spearhead industrial development and the economic growth of Mauritius through the timely delivery of Metrology, Standards, Testing and Quality Assurance (MSTQ) services. MSB also provides through its MSTQ activities, technical support to private and public organizations in improving product and service quality, upgrading public safety, enhancing occupational health and safety, ensuring food safety and mitigating environmental impacts.
The Mauritus Standards Bureau offers premium certification, inspection and testing services through a single window. Its laboratories are equipped with the state-of-the-art instrumentation manned by highly competent laboratory personnel versed in the latest testing techniques. MSB has also a wide pool of qualified management systems auditors registered with the International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA), U.K.
Our laboratory management systems are accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 whereas our management systems certification is accredited to ISO/IEC 17021. These accreditations provide recognition that our laboratories and management systems certification schemes are operated in line with international best practices.
MSB has carved a name in regional and international fora more particularly in the areas of standardization and conformity assessment. MSB is a full member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies with the objective of promoting the development of standards in the world. The Bureau also represents Mauritius in the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) which is an African intergovernmental organization whose aim is to promote standardization activities in Africa. It is also an active participant in regional fora such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Cooperation in Standardization (SADCSTAN), SADC Cooperation in Measurement (SADCMET) and the Common Market for Eastern and South African-Standards, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing (COMESA-SQMT) structure. MSB is also an Associate Member of Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM).
The multi-lateral trading system in the African region is likely to witness a boost with the implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol and the advance of the Tripartite Free Trade Area. With a view to enhancing free trade in the region, technical barriers in the form of conflicting standards and discriminating conformity assessment procedures need to be rolled back. In this context, the Mauritius Standards Bureau has signed agreements and Memoranda of Understanding with several national bodies of SADC, COMESA and EAC (East African Community) countries. The purport of these agreements is, among others, to mutually recognize test reports, product licencees and management system certificates. The Bureau has also entered into a Memorandum of understanding with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Nothern India Textile research Association (NITRA) and the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) for the promotion and facilitation of bilateral trade.
The human dimension cannot be ignored in the developement of the organization. We have a staff of 73 persons engaged in the continual improvement of our services. Our achievements are dedicated to them for their daily effort to make the Bureau a progressive and sustainable organisation.
The turnover of the Bureau in 2012 was Rs 28 million as compared to Rs 23.2 million in 2011.