Kebs destroys twisted steel bars and other goods valued at Sh30m

The standards agency has destroyed goods worth Sh30 million, including twisted steel bars whose manufacture, importation and use in the construction industry has been outlawed over safety concerns.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) twisted bar ban issued last year followed in the footsteps of other East African nations.

Industrialisation PS Julius Korir announced the destruction.

The products included twisted steel bars, roofing sheets, plastic pipes, banned cosmetics, electric cables, expired foodstuff, unbranded sugar, rice, margarine and expired baby diapers impounded from several locations countrywide.

Last year, Kebs destroyed goods valued at about Sh50 million.

Mr Korir described the continued importation and manufacturing of substandard goods as economic sabotage.

“We are not happy destroying these products, but if we can save the lives of Kenyans by doing this, we will not hesitate to do so. These goods were destroyed to save the lives of Kenyans who might not be aware of the harmful effect of these products,” he said.

Kebs managing director Charles Ongwae called on Kenyans to be vigilant when purchasing products and ensure they bear the Kebs mark(s) of quality.

He urged buyers when in doubt to make use of the SMS code 20023 to verify if a product has been certified.

Kebs last year outlawed the use of twisted steel bars in consultation with local manufacturers but the deadline is yet to lapse meaning the destruction could have been for contravening set standards.

“Arising from a meeting recently held between Kebs management and representatives of the steel industry and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, it was resolved that as from April 1, 2017, only ribbed bars shall be manufactured and offered for sale in the country,” said the State agency.