Manufacturers want Kebs boss kicked out

Published on 10/06/2009

By Luke Anami and Ramadhan Rajab

Local manufacturers want the Kenya Bureau of Standard (Kebs) Managing Director Kioko Mang’eli sacked.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) claims that under the stewardship of Mang’eli, Kebs has failed to stop the manufacture and importation of substandard goods into the country.

They say Kebs has failed to stop the flooding of fake and substandard goods into the market despite being the regulator of quality and standardisation.

“It is unfortunate that the manufacturing sector has not realised the required support from the existing government arms and specifically Kebs, in curbing illegal trade and counterfeits,” said Polycarp Igathe a KAM committee member during a press conference at a city hotel yesterday.

“We are tired of being dictated to and being led into policies of dubious benefits to consumers and industry. Consequently, we demand the immediate resignation of Kebs managing director.”

Mr Igathe, who is the Chairman of KAM’s Anti-Counterfeit and Illicit Trade Committee, demanded the immediate suspension of imports verification programme as well as the recently introduced quality standardisation marks.

Dismissed allegations

The standardisation marks that were introduced in March this year are meant to ensure goods produced in the country meet the required quality standards, but the manufacturers argue it has been abused. “The S-mark is a sticker which anyone can fake,” he said.

However, in a swift response at a separate press briefing, Mang’eli dismissed the claims and vowed to push on with the implementation of the S-mark. “We need to achieve international standards as well as bring sanity in importation and ensure transparency and fairness in conformity with the World Trade Organisation agreements,” Mang’eli said.

But, KAM claimed that even after registration of trademarks, kebs has failed to protect such trademarks yet that was within its mandate.

KAM challenged

But Mang’eli denied the claims, saying the lobby group should consult with KAM instead of issuing threats. “It is expected that KAM and associated lobby groups should be at the front line in the war to move the country towards a standard-driven economy,” said Mang’eli.

“Kebs is guided by standards that were created through a consensus and cannot be changed by anybody, other than Government agencies and stakeholders who created it,” added Mangeli.

KAM Chairman Vimal Shah claimed Kebs had failed to distinguish between genuine and adulterated rice in the market.

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