Retailers comply with KEBS directive

March 10, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10- A section of retail chains within the city have revealed that they have stopped purchasing products without the mandatory standardisation mark as required by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

Woolmart Supermarket City Hall Branch Manager John Okware told Capital Business that they have notified their suppliers of the need to have the mark even as many of them continue to comply with the KEBS directive.

“We advised our suppliers a week before March 1 that we wouldn’t be taking any more goods as per the regulations from KEBS. Our receiving clerks are also on the look out to make sure that anything that is received conforms to the requirements,” he added.

He however complained that although they have received approval from KEBS to sell the stock of goods without the mark, it would take more than six months to completely clear those supplies.

“The uptake of some products particularly the imported ones is low so that means that it will take more time to clear the stock,” Mr Okware said but hinted that they would seek audience with KEBS to give agents who import these goods enough time to bring in the standardisation stickers.

Most imported electronics are some of the products in supermarket shelves that do not bear the Import Standardization Mark (ISM) which is a requirement on the specified imported products.

Foods, electrical goods, infant ware and toys are some of the imported products that are subject to the mark.

The deadline for local manufacturers to apply the mark on their products passed at the beginning of this month but only about 85 percent of them have complied.

KEBS Managing Director Eng Kioko Mang’eli said they are still accepting applications but warned that manufacturers who don’t conform risk losing their competitive edge.

“Manufacturers who want to be issued with the mark can come for it anytime; they are allowed to do that. But anyone who doesn’t want to apply the mark, might not be able to sell their products on the market,” he cautioned.

Mr Mang’eli said they were currently processing 1,500 applications from producers who are required to pay an annual flat rate of Sh20, 000 as the initial payment for the factory and a varying amount for each product they produce.

At the same time, a spot check by Capital Business has revealed that more shoppers are on the look out for the mark of quality.

Elizabeth Kariuki said together with her friends, they are only buying products that bear the mark while avoiding those without.

“I am keen to look out for the KEBS mark. In case a product does not have the mark, I don’t pick up at but go for the alternative,” she told Capital Business.

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