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HACO urges lifting of import rules

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – Local manufacturers have called for the scrapping of the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) Program which requires goods entering the country to have a certificate that demonstrates that they conform to the Kenyan standards.

Haco Industries Managing Director Polycarp Igathe said on Wednesday that although the PVoC was designed with good intentions, it was being abused and had resulted in the influx of counterfeits into the country.

“The PVoC program was well thought-out but it is not well executed and to be frank, it is a great source of pain to industry especially now that we are facing an economic downturn in the manufacturing industry. Substandard products continue to come into our country even at a higher rate than they were before the program,” he claimed.

The program, which has been implemented by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) since September 2005, aims to minimise the entry of sub-standard goods entering into the country through the implementation of conformity assessment activities in the country of export. This is in turn meant to protect consumers from harmful goods.

Mr Igathe also took issue with KEBS’ decision to inspect raw materials before they are shipped into the country arguing that this exercise is cumbersome and add unnecessary costs onto the manufacturers which makes them uncompetitive.

The plan has been in force for all finished goods imported into the country which requires them to have a Certificate of Conformity (CoC). This has however been extended to include raw materials.

“How do we sustain our businesses when each time we turn around there’s a government officer creating new regulations without any due consultations with important stakeholders, which is completely messing up our supply chain,” Mr Igathe complained.

He also alleged that the newly effected Standardisation Mark, which is supposed to be a quality mark put on locally manufactured products, had failed to achieve its objective because the mark was being printed by rogue businessmen in downtown Nairobi.

He said the industries under the umbrella body of the Kenya Manufacturers Association would be making their case to the government next week to try and find a solution to this problem.

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Manufacturers have also protested that they have not been given time to comply with the requirements of the new product list which subject some items to two inspection points.

The Bureau was supposed to effect a new list which contains all the imported products covered in the program from May 1 this year.

But in a quick rejoinder Industrialisation Secretary Eng John Mosonik said the implementation of the list had been deferred indefinitely until consultations with the stakeholders are held.

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