The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) was established by an Act of Parliament in October 1972. The month of October 2022 therefore marks 50 years of the existence of the MBS in promoting standardization and quality assurance in Malawi.
From humble beginnings in 1972, the MBS has grown leaps and bounds. The first service that was provided by the MBS was the testing of pesticide residues in tobacco destined for the export market. This was done at the first premises of the MBS, a plot that is adjacent to the current MBS Head Office along Moirs Road at Kristwick in Blantyre.
During these five decades, the MBS has grown and developed its capacity in the following areas, among others:
- Standards development;
- Testing services;
- Product and service certification;
- Certification of management systems;
- Verification and calibration of weighing and measuring instruments; and
- Industrial research, training and consultancy
The capacity that has been developed has been with support from the Malawi Government, including other development partners such as the following, among many others:
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO);
- European Union (EU);
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and
- World Bank
The MBS therefore appreciates the support from Government and the development partners, which has, in a significant way, made the MBS what it is today, after the five decades of its existence.
The MBS started with less than five members of staff in 1972/1973, and this number has grown to 269 as of 1 October 2022. During the five decades, the MBS offices have grown from one (Head Office at Moirs Road, Blantyre) in 1972/173, to 13 office sites as follows:
- Head Office at Moirs Road in Blantyre
- Metrology Services at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre
- Lilongwe (Regional Office – Central)
- Mzuzu (Regional Office – North)
- Songwe Border in Karonga
- Mbilima Border in Chitipa
- Mchinji Border
- Dedza Border
- Mwanza Border
- Muloza Border in Mulanje
- Liwonde Inland port
- Chileka International Airport
- Kamuzu International Airport
The following are some of the milestones we can proudly share with all stakeholders:
- We have facilitated the development of over 1,800 Malawi Standards
- There are 624 units that are fully certified under the Permit Certification Scheme
- There are 328 units that are fully certified under the Designation Scheme
- There are 1,777 units that are Pre-certified under the Pre-Permit Certification Scheme and Pre-Designation Scheme
- We are able to analyze over 70,000 samples of products in a year
- We are able to verify the accuracy of over 10,000 weighing and measuring instruments in a year
- We are able to calibrate over 800 weighing and measuring instruments in a year
- Four of our services are internationally accredited to ISO 17025 under the following scopes: aflatoxin testing in cereals, pulses and legumes; testing of total coliforms, E-Coli and Hetetrophic bacteria in water; calibration of mass pieces and electronic balances; and certification of quality management systems.
One significant achievement worth mentioning is the construction of the new purpose-built Office and Laboratory Complex at Chichiri in Blantyre. The new office complex has been constructed by Government at a total cost of MK18.3 billion, and is almost complete and due for occupation within the months of October and November 2022.
The MBS has highly skilled team in the fields of standardization, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology. It is our hope that with this team, the MBS will immensely contribute towards attainment of the MW2063 in support of industrialization, as well as agricultural productivity and commercialization.
The Golden Jubilee Celebrations will be marked by a number of activities during the month of October 2022, some of which will include the following:
- Sale of Malawi Standards at 50% of the normal price
- Community awareness programmes
- Wide coverage of events in the mainstream media
- A Golden Jubilee road parade by MBS staff
Acting Director General