TOURS

Standards council heads to counties to promote quality policies

The National Standards Council is currently rolling out its strategic plan with specific emphasis on stakeholder engagements

In Summary
  • The visits start with Rift Valley and Mount Kenya region this week
  • Last year, NSC recommended retaining the current enforcement-based national quality management structures for the next fifteen years
National Standards Council Secretary Benard Njiraini left) with the Council chairperson Bernard Ngore and Taskforce on-Standards and Quality Infrastructure Reforms chair Wachira Maina
Image: COURTESY

The National Standards Council (NSC) is set for a series of grassroots visits to establish the state of quality standards compliance.

Announcing the visits starting with Rift Valley and Mount Kenya region this week, the NSC chairman  Bernard Ngore said the regional visits seek to promote adherence to Standards, Metrology and Conformity Assessment Systems.

''The visits will also provide a much-needed public engagement platform geared at sensitizing stakeholders on the National quality standards policies and regulations,'' Ngore said.

On Monday (today), the council through to Wednesday will be in Meru and Nyeri where it will have engagements with county executives and later visit large and small and medium enterprises.

“The NSC is currently rolling out its strategic plan with specific emphasis on stakeholder engagements’ which will feature grassroots consultations to promote the uptake of quality standards including the ISO quality management system,” Ngore said.

He added that the state of the national economic production ecosystem comprising of jua kali and large industries calls for closer collaborative interactions to promote the adoption of quality standards.

Last year, NSC recommended retaining the current enforcement-based national quality management structures for the next fifteen years to facilitate capacity building of voluntary options.

In its submission to the Taskforce on Standards and Quality Infrastructure Reforms in Kenya, the council recommended the maintaining of existing structures; based on international benchmarks in the continent and beyond.

The National Taskforce chaired by Wachira Maina is expected to review and evaluate the entire standards and quality infrastructure’s weaknesses and shortcomings.

Such review will include institutional architecture and arrangement to meet the Country’s goals of managing and mitigating risks to quality, health, safety, environment, fair trade practices, and consumer protection.

The NSC, through KEBS, has been spearheading product certification efforts that enable products to access markets.

As of the end of the second quarter of 2019/20, a total of 13,754 products (2,884 MSME and 10,870 from larger firms) had valid permits. KEBS has incubated medium-small and micro-enterprise to improve the quality of their products. In the FY 2019/20 to-date, 786 MSMEs were incubated.

Kebs has successfully managed to institute measures to improve organizational capacity and capability to meet client needs while securing national interests.

The standards body has enjoyed sustained growth from the development of Kenya’s first KS 07-01 standard in 1976 to develop 10,126 Kenyan Standards.

Kebs managed to harmonized at least  716 East Africa Standards and currently enjoys the counter endorsement of 1,136 International Standards.