QUALITY ASSURANCE

Kebs shares standards with E. Africa peers, to hire more staff

PS Kaberia challenged the agency to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as they hold the key to reducing poverty.

In Summary
  • This means goods certified in Kenya will not need to be retested after export into the region and vice versa.
  • The government and the Kebs board has approved the recruitment of more staff over the next few months
Industrialisation PS Peter Kaberia speaks to press at Alba Hotel on Monday.
REVIVING SECTOR: Industrialisation PS Peter Kaberia speaks to press at Alba Hotel on Monday.
Image: DENNIS DIBONDO

The government will increase funding to the Kenya Bureau of Standards to support Kenyan businesses as they expand into regional markets.

The pledge comes against the background of increased exports by Kenyan firms to regional markets and an agreement that allows countries in East Africa to share quality standards.

Goods certified in Kenya no longer need to be retested after export into the region and vice versa.

During a visit to the Kebs headquarters, Industrialisation Permanent Secretary, Peter Kaberia, said increasing the number of experts at Kebs and investing in new testing equipment will help Kenya achieve the Big Four Agenda as well as Vision 2030 development goals.

“The government and the Kebs board has approved the recruitment of more staff over the next few months,” Kaberia said.

He challenged the agency to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) get their products certified.  

As part of the government’s strategy to support SMEs, he said the Ministry is mapping the country’s resources to entrench the One Village One Product model that will ensure equitable distribution of jobs and manufacturing opportunities across the country.

“Instead of taking people to where the factories are, we want to take factories to where the people are,” Kaberia said.

Kenya Bureau of Standards MD Bernard Njiraini said SMEs had increased their requests for certification of their goods, an indication that many are keen to be part of the formal economy.

This, he said, has been largely driven by difficulties in importing goods due to the effects of Covid-19 and the desire by Kenyan SMEs to expand into the regional market.

“At least 90 of our standards support the Big Four Agenda,” he said, citing the example of the agency's enhanced capacity to test cement and other building products to ensure safety in the construction industry.

The  National Standards Council chairman  Bernard Ngore said Kebs plan to inspect petroleum products has faced resistance from industry players.

“We are requesting that the trade ministry guides us on how we can lobby the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the National Treasury to get incorporated in the pricing formula of EPRA so that we can be legally grounded in the process,” he said.