The Sierra Leone Standards Bureau (SLSB) on Wednesday 20th May joined countries around the World to celebrate “World Metrology Day” with the theme “Measurement and Light. World Metrology Day is an event that commemorates the signing of the “Metre Convention” on May 20, 1875 in Paris, France.
SLSB which has the legal mandate (through the Weights and Measures Act of 2010) to determine measurement in Sierra Leone spearheaded the celebration with a workshop that was held at the new conference hall of the Metrology Testing and Calibration Laboratory. The seminar which attracted stakeholders from the Sierra Leone Institute of Engineers, University of Sierra Leone, members of the Consumer Protection Agency, manufacturers and Exporters among others holistically looked at the significance of the science of measurement in daily lives and SLSB’s preparations to go metric in the commercial and general trade sector of Sierra Leone.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the workshop, the Acting Minister of Trade and Industry, Madam Mabinty Daramy said that the theme was aligned with the international year of light and lighted based technology proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations and UNESCO. She said the Government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the United Nations had recognized the importance of raising the global awareness “about how light based technologies promoted sustainable development and provided solutions to global challenges in energy, education, Agriculture and health.”
Madam Daramy said President Ernest Bai Koroma takes energy as a vital tool to development, hence one of the priorities of the President’s government is energy, adding that “when he came to power in 2007 he transformed Freetown the capital of Sierra Leone from being the darkest city to the city of light in less than 100 days.” The Acting Minister of Trade and Industry noted that the government had embarked on a massive solar thermal energy infrastructural development throughout the country with the installation of high technology lighting alternatives. She reiterated that the energy from the sun that reaches the earth can now be converted into heat and electricity and that the Government was working assiduously to develop affordable and clean solar thermal energy technology. She said this would provide what she described as “inexhaustible resources” that would enhance sustainability, reduce pollution and cover the cost of mitigating climate change in Sierra Leone, adding “solar thermal energy generated can be used for multitude of tasks; whether as a source of energy for residential and commercial areas”. Against this backdrop, she noted that President Ernest Bai Koroma’s government was determined to providing clean, efficient forms of energy to developing communities in rural and urban areas that would access the free health care initiative.
The Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau, Ing. James Saio Dumbuya described “World Metrology Day” as very significant because its talks about measurement in daily life. He said the “Metre Convention set the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement in industrial, commerce and societal applications. Ing.Dumbuya noted that the theme for this year “Measurement and Light” highlighted the key role light and optical technologies play in our daily lives, adding that “it was almost impossible to describe anything accurately or conduct our daily lives without the use of measurement.” The Director of Standards Bureau stressed that measurement provides the structure, removes chaos, reduces waste, ensures open fair markets, supports precision where necessary and saves lives money and time. He noted that measuring instruments are controlled by law and/or are subjected to regulatory control, adding that “Standards Bureau has the Weights and Measures Act of 2010 and gives us the power to determine measurement.” Ing. Dumbuya said “the Bureau fulfils its mandate in the provision of measurement traceability often obtained by calibration, establishing the relation between the indication of a measuring instrument and the value of a measurement standard”, which he said was coordinated by national Metrological and/or metrological institutes. He said the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau had put modalities in place to roll over the metric system from the Petroleum industry to the Commercial and general trade sector when Sierra Leone is declared Ebola free.
The Chairman of the National Standards Council, Kingston B. Evans disclosed that the Government of Sierra Leone had supported the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau in the construction of a modern National Metrology Testing and Calibration Laboratory that would house the electrical energy technology. He said this would enable the Bureau to do its work effectively and efficiently “..where electrical energy technology needs and requirements will be measured, tested and calibrated to avoid the dumping of sub-standard energy product in the country.” Mr. Evans said the overall objective of the Government’s support were to maintain a high level of general awareness and transparency in the trade measurement practices and transactions, which ne noted “will ensure an effective compliance framework, avoid fraudulent practices and improve on trade measurement practices.”
Standards Bureau is an institution that is responsible for developing standards, conducting Tests and certification, quality assurance and determining measurement. Despite the challenges, the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau had strived over the years in developing standards, conducting tests/certification, quality assurance and successfully adopted and implemented the metric system in the petroleum sector in 2011. With support from the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with UNIDO, P.T.B in Germany and other financial partners, the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau has constructed the Metrological Testing and Calibration Laboratory.