SMEs urged to embrace standards to be competitive

Small-and-medium enterprises should embrace standards to create confidence among consumers and increase their competitiveness, the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), has urged.
A dealer prepares to transport milk. Standards body encourages small businesses to ensure quality.
A dealer prepares to transport milk. Standards body encourages small businesses to ensure quality.

Small-and-medium enterprises should embrace standards to create confidence among consumers and increase their competitiveness, the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), has urged.

The call came as Rwanda joined the rest of the world yesterday to celebrate World Standards Day under the theme “Standards level the playing field”.

This year’s theme emphasises the importance of international standards among stakeholders, especially SMEs, in providing an equal market opportunity, Dr Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, RSB director general, said. International standards assure consumers of a product’s quality, as well as safety of products, systems and services, he added.

World Standards Day is celebrated internationally each year on October 14 to honour the efforts of the thousands of experts who develop standards to advance society. It also aims at raising awareness among regulators, industry players and consumers on the importance of standardisation to the global economy.

As part of celebrations, RSB has started a week-long sensitisation drive targeting manufacturers and consumers about the benefits of ensuring standards along the value chain. 

The standards body will visit a number of manufacturers, including SMEs involved in the milk business.

Bagabe noted that SMEs that acquire internationally-recognised standards find it easier to penetrate global markets and be competitive.

“We will visit SMEs dealing in milk and milk products to assess the status of implementation of the Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points standard and other milk standards,” Bagabe told The New Times.

Florence Umurugi, the Rwanda National Dairy Platform president, said they are working with all stakeholders to ensure that standards are emphasised.

“Farmers and manufacturers should embrace standardisation because it is an enabler of business that opens markets for local products,” she said.

“International standards stimulate trade, overcome artificial trade barriers and help level the playing field. This makes companies, industries and economies more competitive, making it easier for them to export, and stimulates diversification nationally and internationally,” Terry Hill International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) president, said in his message to mark the day.