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Economy

Boost for firms as Kebs extends standard marks validity to two years

 Bernard Njiraini
Kebs managing director Bernard Njiraini. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Manufacturers have been spared the annual hustle and expenses of renewing certification after Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) extended validity of standardisation marks by two years.

Managing director Bernard Njiraini said starting July 1, the standardisation marks (SM) permits will also be electronically dispatched to individual manufacturers who will be required to make cashless payments.

“The revision of the standardisation mark scheme improves efficiency and enhances Kenya’s ease of doing business by reducing logistical and administrative challenges, including delays in the processing of SM permits,” he said.

Kebs will also issue guidelines for accepting test reports which have been done in accredited laboratories for product certification.

The bureau also released a guideline document for remote assessment during extraordinary events or circumstances such as the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as part of its business continuity strategy.

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So far, the agency has issued 14,400 SM permits to manufacturers.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga welcomed the new measures saying they will boost productivity while enabling companies to speed up product development-to-market turnaround time.

Outsourcing of testing services will also eliminate the long queues at Kebs laboratories where manufacturers used to submit samples and then wait for months to get test results.

“We had requested for an extension since the one year period was very short as companies submitted samples to Kebs and had to wait for long periods to get test results and the SM permit came long after the period had expired,” she said.

The SM permit, which is a mandatory requirement for placement of goods in the Kenyan market, is issued to manufacturers for products whose compliance with established standards has been ascertained.

Mr Njiraini said that under the revised SM scheme, issuance of other SM Permits will be based on factory inspection and product sampling for laboratory tests where Kebs inspectors will carry out targeted and random market surveillance, factory inspection and products testing.

Individual factories must also maintain in-house testing and quality control records.

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