Pakistan National Accreditation Council Act, 2016
Proposed and moved by: Rana Tanveer Hussain (Minister for Science & Technology)
Summary: The Pakistan National Accreditation Council Act, 2016 was introduced in the National Assembly in order to provide for the establishment of the Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC). The Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC) has been established under the administrative control of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan, as the national apex agency to accredit conformity assessment bodies such as laboratories and certification bodies. Thus, the Council, for accreditation of Conformity Assessment Bodies enables them to assure the quality of products, services and management system in accordance with the international and national standards for sustainable socio-economic development. PNAC was established in 1998 and its services begun during the year 2001. PNAC achieved a milestone of Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) with International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) in 2009 and Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) status in 2013. Now Pakistan is included in the list of countries having equivalent status for accreditation of testing & calibration laboratories and certification bodies for QMS & EMS all over the world.
The functions of PNAC include public service activities and require statutory protection. Therefore, to provide legal cover for the activities of the Council and also to fulfill the international requirements, it is vital to provide for the establishment of PNAC through an Act of Parliament.
The establishment of the Council under Section 1 will perform several functions listed in Section 4. These include establishing an internationally recognized accreditation system, make policies, schemes, procedures and guidelines that meet national and international standards, provide training to Conformity Assessment Bodies and other stakeholders, accredit, and co ordinate with National, Regional and International Organizations for effective implementation of the system and also perform any other function related to this System.
Section 5 lists the management of the Council including a Board of Governors, Executive Committee and Director-General. Sections 6-13 provide the details regarding the management and its composition. Furthermore, the funds and financial support provided to the Council has been portrayed in Section 14, which calls for ‘impartiality and objectiveness of the accreditation process’. The granting of accreditation its process has been defined in Section 16. Moreover, Section 18-20 deals with the court and appeal procedure relating to the offence of improper use of the Council mark. The accountability of the Council can be assessed from the requirement of submitting reports to the Federal Government, annually and periodically on its workings and following Directives issued by Federal Government. Notably, through this Act, the PNAC that was already established in 1998 shall be dissolved and its procedure has been highlighted in Section 24.
Thus, under Section 26-27, the Federal Government may by a notification in the Official Gazette make or amend rules for carrying out the purposes of the Act giving effect to it.
Note: On Tuesday, 19th July, 2016 the Standing Committee on Science and Technology discussed the Pakistan National Accreditation Council Bill, 2016 in detail and considered the amendments proposed in Section 13. After detailed deliberations on the said Bill, the Committee agreed with the proposed amendment of the Ministry and unanimously passed the Bill.
(Summary by Khadija Naeem)