SLSI reaches out to SMEs in North, East and Uva Provinces with GMP certification

Thursday, 4 August 2016 00:14 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



Eleven food sector SMEs representing the North, East and Uva Provinces recently received Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certificate from Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI). 

This was part of joint initiative between SLSI and GIZ – SME Development Programme to support up to 30 regional SMEs to upgrade their businesses through quality certification. Obtaining certification will enable SMEs to pave their way to enter into new markets both locally and internationally.

The collaborative initiative between SLSI and GIZ aims to promote Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and raise awareness on industry specific hygienic practices, product standards, processes certification and industry safety requirements. As a lead up to certifying these SMEs, a series of awareness building workshops were held in above provinces taking into account the necessity of upgrading of quality assurance practices of SME sector to match local and global standards.  This was followed up with the next phase by selecting 10 highly-potential SMEs from each province where they received focused training and consultancy on their product and/or system certification. SLSI visited each of the selected SME to carry out a GMP certification compliance audit and later in gap analysis, SMEs were made additional industry upgrades required for such certification.

One of the major activities under GIZ’s cooperation with SLSI was revision of the National Quality Policy (NQP). The Ministry of Science, Technology and Research responsible for the NQP and has mandated SLSI to carry out the actual policy development process. GIZ is supported this process by providing international expertise. 

Key documents on certification schemes and requirements to obtain standard certification as well as further training material were translated into Sinhala and Tamil languages and are now accessible to SMEs. As a result, SMEs are better aware on improving and upgrading quality infrastructure benefitting their companies.

Speaking at the certificate awarding ceremony, SLSI Chairman Pradeep Gunawardena commended GIZ for partnering with SLSI to extend SLSI services to SME sector industrialists in the regions especially, Northern, Eastern and Uva Provinces.

SLSI Director General Gamini Dharmawardana said: “During awareness building workshops held in North, East and Uva Provinces, it was revealed that most of these SMEs lack knowledge on certification and services offered by SLSI.”

Collaborative efforts with the GIZ SME Development Program has resulted the dissemination of such information at great level creating larger out reach. In addition to these efforts, SLSI has already taken measures to continue awareness building through institutions affiliated to Government such as Vidatha centres, IDB district offices, universities and chambers,” Dharmawardana said.  The SLSI Director General invited certified SMEs not to stop with GMP certification but reach for higher industrial certifications such as ISO 9000 to conform to international standards which would help them to enter and compete with international suppliers. 

“Obtaining a GMP certificate would be the first step towards producing quality goods and services which can pave the way for SMEs to secure larger markets both locally and internationally,” said Hasitha Wijesundara, Advisor Policy and Access to Technology. Therefore SMEs should continue to work on this line and take adequate steps to continuously focus on improving the product and service quality of their products and services in order to upscale themselves for larger markets both locally and internationally, he further mentioned.

SLSI implements GMP scheme and ‘SLS’ Product Certification for the organisations, including the SME sector, and as at present, there are close to 450 manufacturers have forwarded their applications to obtain the GMP Certification. Under the SLS Product Certification scheme, SLSI has certified about 150 SME sector manufacturers. Through this project with GIZ, SLSI intends to reach out to SME businesses with limited access to product certification services, especially in the Northern, Eastern and Uva Provinces.

SLSI, the sole national standards body in Sri Lanka, promotes and facilitates standardisation, measurement, quality assurance and related activities in all sectors of the national economy in order to increase productivity and maximise the utilisation of resources along with facilitating internal and external trade. It also contributes to enhance international competitiveness of products and services and safeguard the interest of consumers.

Through the Sri Lankan-German SME Development Program, implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, GIZ aims to support a cohesive policy framework that enables SME to grow in an inclusive and eco-friendly manner, enhance competitiveness of SME due to technology transfer and innovation, improve access to finance for SME, and enable SME to take advantage of green technologies and maintain nature’s capital for sustainable growth. The program is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany.