Standards agency says new rules to curb fake goods

Tuesday January 26 2016

Barnabas Lihema, Kenya Bureau of Standards North Rift Manager displays counterfeit geometrical sets and ball point pens seized from various shops in the town and its environs before burning the consignment in Eldoret town on March 14, 2014. Kebs has urged consumers to check the quality of goods as the fight against fake items intensifies during the festive season. PHOTO |JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Barnabas Lihema, Kenya Bureau of Standards North Rift Manager displays counterfeit geometrical sets and ball point pens seized from various shops in the town and its environs before burning the consignment in Eldoret town on March 14, 2014. PHOTO |JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BRIAN NGUGI
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The new rules on exports will help net fake products coming into the country and boost efforts to rid the country of sub-standard goods, the Kenya Bureau of Standards has said.

On August 1 last year the standard agency began implementing secure quality marks and stickers complete with track-and-trace software where importers of goods are required to apply for an import standardisation mark (ISM) by submitting copies of certificate of conformity (COC).

According to the new rules, no imported product is allowed for sale in the Kenyan market without ISM sticker after 30 June this year.

The first phase of the project targeted all imported products intended for sale in the local market.

All importers are required under the new guidelines to get the ISM stickers directly from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).

To obtain the stickers, they must submit copies of certificate of conformity, import declaration form and customs entry to Kebs.

BEARING FRUIT
Last week, Kebs managing director, Charles Ongwae told Smart Company that the new standards are bearing fruit.

“Under the COC requirement anybody importing goods into the country must ensure that those goods are inspected before they get into the country. This will ensure the goods are up to standard,” said Mr Ongwae.

“We are also working with the Kenya Revenue Authority and security agencies to ensure that we address the fake goods challenge.”

Mr Ongwae said the move will also help arrest rampant faking of Kebs quality marks and provide a platform on which the standards agency will carry out “on-field, real-time validation and verification” of goods bearing its quality marks.

The system, he explained, provides an online channel for consumers to directly “authenticate the validity of certification of goods before purchase”.

Theft of intellectual property rights, described as ‘perfect counterfeits’ is said to be a new threat, even as manufacturers of fast moving consumer goods are particularly blamed for laxity in registering their products with the Kenya Industrial Property Institute.

Trade in counterfeits has grown into a Sh70 billion annual business empire, rivalling key foreign exchange earners like tourism, tea and horticulture.

According to the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), the most affected items are medicinal drugs, electronics, CDs and pirated software, alcoholic drinks, mobile phones and farm inputs.

Corruption at Kenya’s informal entry points is also said to perpetrate an influx of sub-standard goods into the local market.

An increase in the number of unauthorised manufacturing units, especially in the beer industry, also poses threats to human life.