The national bureau of standards says people’s safety and wellbeing is compromised at the border, making South Sudan a dumping site for repacked expired goods imported from neighboring countries.
On Friday, the Chief executive Officer of NBS, Mary Gordon Muortat, told the governor’s forum that her agency lacks technical equipment and capacity to enforce thorough checks for all goods entering the country.
She accused officers who are supposed to stop the entry of expired goods of being bribed and allow the goods to transit without testing and certification by the NBS.
Ms. Gordon said some of the commodities imported to South Sudan are sub-standards and had not thoroughly passed NBS safety certification processes.
She said food safety is their priority but is no longer respected because they lack the equipment needed and technical staff with the capacity to protect and stop substandard goods at the borders.
“The bureau of standards is not giving the priority that we suppose to be as a nation, and nobody is worrying about the goods that are coming to South Sudan.” She stressed.
Ms. Gordon said the 15% penalties they enforced for those found selling sub-standard and expiry goods is not stopping the infiltration of expired goods because traders pay more as a bribe to officers at the borders.
“We’ve more than five hundred bags of sorghum that are substandard being brought to our military. We need to protect ourselves from what we eat as a nation”, said Gordon.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Josephine Lagu, said food quality concerned her ministry but distanced her ministry from not being involved in coordination efforts to tackle the matter.
She urged the NBS to coordinate with her ministry to have a representative at the border test and certify the safety & quality of food brought into South Sudan.
The Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Hon. Angelina Teny admitted one of the claims saying they received food with only three months to expire and was rejected, and gave a directive to stop taking food from the supplier.
Teny urges the NBS to enforce internal control mechanism to stop the involvement of its officials in the corrupt practices and allow relabeling and repackaging of food.
The National Bureau of Standards is the mandatory body responsible for enforcing standards to protect public health and safety and the environment in South Sudan.