Kenyan manufacturers ‘must meet EAC quality standards’

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Kenyan manufacturers have been urged to acquire the basic Standardisation Mark of quality in order to safeguard trade within East African Community (EAC) by 1 January 2008, when the new quality law comes into effect, a new report published here Wednesday by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said.

The report noted that Kenyan products exported within EAC economic bloc must bear the mandatory mark of quality.

“This is because EAC partner states have agreed to recognize each others’ products on the basis of quality standard marks,” the report quotes KEBS Managing Director, Kioko Mang’eli, as saying.

While Tanzania and Uganda have 1,500 and 900 products respectively that bear standardisation marks, Kenya has only 150 products with the optional Diamond Mark of Quality.

To correct the anomaly, KEBS said it would, from 1 February next year, require products trading in the domestic market to be registered and to bear the basic mark of quality by 1 July, 2008.

The report said KEBS had set aside a transitional period – 1 February to 30 June 2008 – for the certification process to allow Kenyan manufacturers to meet the requirement.

“After July 1, 2008, no product shall trade within Kenya unless it bears the basic mark of quality,” Mang’eli said.

The mark, which will cost US$300, will be based on production process and product classification/grade, rather than brand as had been earlier indicated, the report said.

KAM chairman Steve Smith warned that EAC member-states would reject Kenyan exports from 1 January, when the EAC-SQMT Act comes into effect, unless the products bore the quality mark.

“From this moment, individual companies should work with KEBS to avert delays in certification and to get waivers where necessary, as well as work with their retailers to sort out dates and logistics for their supply chains,” Smith warns in the report

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