Reprieve for importers as goods to be inspected at point of entry

Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

The government has reversed the requirement that all imported goods be inspected in their country of origin to protect the interests of local importers.

Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said this would ease delays faced by importers as they await clearance from abroad, and also reduce the high costs of navigating through standards in foreign countries.

He told the National Assembly Committee on Trade and Co-operatives on Wednesday that his ministry has reversed the 2015 directive that goods be issued with certificates of inspection in their countries of origin to be allowed into the local market. This was to curb the entry of illicit and sub-standard products.

But the move was opposed by traders who complained about the high fees they were paying private inspection agencies contracted by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Mr Munya told a committee chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega that the traders had made their case on how they were being exploited by the agencies, necessitating the change to have goods inspected at the point of entry.

“It has been a huge problem for small-scale traders to have their goods cleared by foreign standards bodies. We have now reviewed the decision so that it is not compulsory to test the goods at the country of origin,” he said.

The State had contracted private agencies to check goods for compliance, including Cotecna Inspection SA, Bureau Veritas and Intertek International.