International Organisation for Standardisation’s warning to suspend Pakistan’s membership worries business community

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The International Organisation for Standardisation’s (ISO) warning to suspend Pakistan’s membership has caused tensions among the business community as it will impact the image of goods and products originating from the nation, Dawn reported. 

Earlier, ISO warned the Pakistan Quality Standards Control Authority (PSQCA) that their membership would be suspended if the annual subscription pending since 2022 was not cleared.

Reacting to the warning sent by ISO, Vice President and in-charge of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) capital office Aminullah Beg said such slackness by the authorities had to be taken as a serious crime.

He said the main problem in Pakistan was that the bureaucracy had become too strong and they were not held accountable for any misdoing or callous performance, as per Dawn.

The ISO had told the government through the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva that the subscription fee for the year 2022 remains unpaid, leading to the suspension of PSQCA membership, he said.

The ISO had said that in case of suspension, the PSQCA will not have voting rights, and other facilities including access to free publications and documents from the organisation.

The warning comes following a series of reminders sent by the ISO, and the international body has also outlined the cumbersome process for membership restoration in case of suspension.

Established under the PSQCA Act 1996 to provide one-window services for Standardisation and Conformity Assessment, the authority is the local agency of ISO in Pakistan to enforce and implement quality and environmental management systems including the ISO:9001-2000 and ISO:14000 and assist local industries in obtaining certifications for these systems, reported Dawn.

Stakeholders have criticised the state of affairs in the PSQCA claiming that it was not just any department but it was like a rating agency for all industries.

“Just because of red tape and official lacuna, the industry was suffering and the reputation of local manufacturing units was at risk,” Islamabad Industrial Association President Ahmed Waheed said.

He said not only international buyers were already looking at Pakistani products with suspicion, but it was also getting difficult to convince international investors about the quality standards of industrial units in the country.

“This was because of few government departments like PSQCA,” Dawn quoted Waheed as saying.

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