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Chief of staff checks food and drug standards

Chief of staff checks food and drug standards

FREETOWN: In preparation for resuming export of Sierra Leone fish products to the European market, the State House Chief of Staff has made inspection visits to Government Agencies dealing with Food and Drugs Standards in Freetown.  (Photo: State House Chief of Staff (Left) Holding Testing Instrument with SLSB Director Dumbuya)

The visits to the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau (SLSB) and Sierra Fisheries in the East end and the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone at New England Ville, demonstrated government’s determination to meet set standards for export of the country’s fish products to the European market.

Addressing staff of the Standard Bureau Chief of Staff Dr. Kailfala Marah expressed gratitude to the management for its good work, stating the need to find out the key projects necessary for securing the European Union Certification for Fish Exports.

‘We are also here to discuss your challenges and see how best State House can step to help in expedite your work through direct collaboration and interaction with the Bureau’, Dr. Marah said.

While expressing concern that equipment meant for calibration of pumping machines for petroleum products have still not been installed since acquisition in 2007, the Chief of Staff enquired whether the Bureau has instruments for and testing of quality drinking water.

‘We wish to evaluate your performance in accordance with your work plan’. He maintained that the government’s stock take and routine inspection exercise are meant to change behavior and not to witch hunt’, he said.

On the establishment of Micro-biology laboratories by Standards Bureau for storage of food products, Dr. Marah said; ‘Let us have as many laboratories as we can on the ground, as long as they meet international standards’.

Standards Bureau Director James Saio Dumbuya disclosed the completion of Micro-biology laboratories currently awaiting equipment from UNIDO be installed next month,

‘We are expecting UNIDO to provide an expert for the installation of the equipment in April and provide additional training to Bureau staff to continue working efficiently.

The Bureau Director revealed that instruments for testing the quality of petroleum products have not been installed due to limited space.

He also disclosed plans for the erection of a two storey laboratory building, with part funding by UNIDO and vowed that equipment will be fully installed by the end of May this year, with technical support from the Tema Oil Refinery in Ghana.

The Chief of Staff and team were later taken on a conducted tour of the completed and on-going projects. At Sierra Fisheries, the Chief of Staff and team were taken on tour by the Managing Director Basim Saide of facilities under construction to able to meet for the  export of fish products to the EU.

COS Marah in discussion with Sierra Fishery Managing Director

Other facilities inspected were fish entrances, changing rooms, a new plant site, ice making section, the blast freezer, and cold rooms.

Speaking during the tour, Dr. Marah observed that Sierra Leone would meet standards if the momentum is maintained.

‘I am trying to do my best, as you can see the water treatment plant is now ready for proper handling of fish products’, the Sierra Fisheries Managing Director disclosed.

At the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, Chief of Staff Dr. Marah requested Registrar Wiltshire Johnson to share the Board’s activities and challenges, urging him to begin thinking big and plan better.

‘We need to go for flatter structures in Government so that activities can be without delay. There is no way we can bring change if we continue doing things the old ways’.

Dr. Marah informed Mr. Johnson that his office is currently working on performance tracker to improve overall efficiency in government departments and agencies.

On the production of water, Mr. Johnson said that the board started regulating water, including Grafton, and closed down factories that could not meet the set standards for water purification, saying that only four factories were able to comply with the water regulations.

He said, however that water is now being regulated by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

COS inspecting counterfeit drugs with Registrar Johnson at the Pharmacy Board (left)

‘We have proposed to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation that we want to monitor the free health care delivery drugs but we are constrained by inadequate funding’ he said.

The Pharmacy Board Registrar also complained of having problems with the NRA and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development alleging; ‘they collect our money and take commission from it’.

On fake drugs, Mr. Johnson said that the Board has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Multi Religious Council, as a result of which clergies will be giving special sermons on the dangers of fake drugs.

The Chief of Staff and team were later taken on a conducted tour to inspect testing equipment at the Pharmacy Board.

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