Trade CS calls for review of 1974 Standards Act amid low uptake

Trade CS Rebecca Miano. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano has called for the review of the Standards Act as her ministry revealed that only 10 per cent of standards developed are in use in the Kenyan market.

The CS, who officiated her first public function after taking over the ministry following a Cabinet reshuffle, said the Act needs to be aligned to the needs of the country.

She was speaking during the World Standards Day commemorated on October 14 on the theme 'Shared Vision for a Better World: Incorporating SDG 3'.

SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) 3 seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Ms Miano, who gave the keynote address at the event organised by Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and TradeMark Africa, said the Act needs to be reviewed notwithstanding earlier evaluations in 2004.

She directed the Kebs board to urgently steer the process of reviewing the old standard to make it fit for the purpose of the country.

"Kebs has done a lot of work and benchmarked and we will be taking it up from there. We will have a new Act that will anchor the country strongly in terms of standards," she said.

The CS said the delivery of health services operates on strict regimen of standards and universal priorities.

Standards will give the country a competitive edge even as she noted the low absorption of developed standards in the market, she said.

The event also saw the unveiling of 416 new standards, raising the number of standards developed by Kebs to 10,347.

The mandate of enforcing standards rests with Kebs, which is charged with ensuring that products sold in the market are of the required quality and standards.

Recently, the State agency said it had tested over 60,000 consumer products in the 2022-23 financial year.

"The role of Kebs in ensuring that goods and services conform to standards is pivotal in enhancing the quality of life, and consumer protection, and in fostering trade, industry, and innovation," Kebs said in a statement in August following claims that it was not doing enough to enforce standards on goods sold in Kenya.

Consumers continue to raise concerns about the quality of goods in the market, and even local manufacturers have called for a clampdown on sub-standard goods, many of them imported.

Kebs, though, dismissed reports that goods sold in the local market may be of poor quality because of not testing, saying its Diamond Mark of Quality signifies that all products are fit for consumption.

Industry PS Juma Mukhwana, who had accompanied the CS to the event, raised questions on the low absorption of the standards.

"Does it mean we need more standards or do we need to revise what we have? Is it that they are not relevant?" he posed.

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