The sixth agenda on theTransform Kenya Forum was Standardization and Quality of Trade in Kenya. The Forum was aimed at explaining the importance of standardization in Kenya and how quality standards can help the Kenyan economy to grow by minimizing counterfeit products in the market.
The panel of seven included the Managing Director Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Bernard Nguyo, the CEO Kenya Accreditation Service Martin Chesire, the Principal Secretary, State Department of Industry Ms. Betty Maina, Senior Operations Manager, Sous Droo Limited, Maxwell Kimeli Sawe, Vice-Chairman of Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) .Benjamin Langwen, the Executive Director of the Anti-counterfeit Agency Elema Halake, and Secretary General of the International Organization for Standardization, (IOS), Sergio Mujica.
Mr. Sergio Mujica stresssed the importance of implementation of quality standards on improving country’s GDP by 28 percent.
The Managing Director Kenya Bureau of Standards, Mr. Bernard Nguyo explained that the process of developing standards was concept based and that the interests of consumers are key while talking about good standards. He assured Kenyans that standards made in Kenya were of high quality and meet the expectations of consumers.
PS Ms. Betty Maina addressed the influx imported counterfeit products, saying in order to reduce the number of imported counterfeit goods, the government has put in place strong border controls at the sea, airports and land boarders. She also revealed that the government has put a multi-agency in place to deal with counterfeit products.
According to Ms. Maina, all imports must conform to the standard of the country by being checked through market surveillance, boarder controls and the National Accreditation Service.
Mr. Elema Halake added that achieving standards is very costly, because it involves proper training and equipment.
Mr. Harake revealed “Usually counterfeited products are cheaper compared to the original products.” thats the first way to scrutinize a counterfeit.
Representing the consumers, Mr. Benjamin Langwen said consumers should be communicated the right information in a language they understand in order to make informed decisions on the products they buy.