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KEBS working to structure certification

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on Friday revealed that it would in the next two months set up an independent arm, which would be in charge of certification services.

Managing Director Eng Kioko Mang’eli said that the KEBS Certification Body would help reduce the potential conflict of interest between the administration of certification and training activities.

“It’s been registered and it will be an independent body from KEBS operations so that we can remove the issue of impartiality in the business of certification,” he said, adding that through the separation of the (certification and training) services, they would improve efficiency in both areas.

KEBS has since July 2006 given 44 certificates, which is more than half the total issued since it began certifying in the 1990s.

Speaking after KEBS received an ISO 9001:2008 certification for quality management from the British Standards Institute, the MD said the award was an assurance that its internal systems were competent and it would assist the Bureau in its quest to entrench a quality culture in the society.

This culture, he emphasised, was bound to have a ripple effect in the promotion of practical application of standards, which would lead to improved quality of life and greater benefits on the Kenyan and regional economies.

He added that KEBS had expanded its testing competencies and they would venture into new (testing) areas. Petroleum and non-destructive testing laboratories, he Mr Mang’eli said, would be established in order to monitor the quality of petroleum products at the entry points and within the country, and detect ‘under-surface flaws’ in buildings, engines parts and boilers respectively.

Regarding the ongoing exercise of applying the Standardisation Mark on all locally manufactured products, Eng Mang’eli said that about 5,000 marks had so far been issued while the Import Standardisation Mark had been given to 350 importers.

“We have also been engaged in partnerships with our stakeholders to address standardisation and quality assurance in areas such as fresh produce and cut flowers, food safety and animal feeds,” he added.

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Also in attendance was Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, who urged KEBS to develop more relevant standards for the service sector.

He pointed out that such standards would help improve the country’s competitiveness, particularly in the export market.

“The ISO certification is a commitment to a sustained improvement of any organisation’s systems and KEBS should therefore show its pledge to this principle. Stakeholders’ satisfaction, especially the customer, shall remain the true indicator of the effectiveness of its system,” Kosgey urged.

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