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Kenya to develop quality policy to spur economic growth 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) said on Friday that it is developing a national quality policy that aims at developing and strengthening the national quality infrastructure to speed up economic growth.

KEBS Managing Director Charles Ongwae said the policy will also result in export enhancement, ensure supply of safe and quality goods and services in the market and contribute to environmental protection.

Ongwae said the country has been operating without a national quality policy, hampering the development of quality infrastructure.

“In collaboration with stakeholders, we have developed a Kenya National Quality Policy and we will soon be reaching out to our parent ministry for it to be adopted and implemented,” Ongwae told journalists in Nairobi.

He noted that his organization is also revising the Standards Act Cap 496, which came into being 43 years ago when KEBS was established.

KEBS has deepened quality assurance, inspection and market surveillance activities to create a level playing field, he said.

Ongwae said KEBS will develop 31 standards for the manufacturing sector to support textile, apparel and leather processing; revise 27 schemes of supervision and control for the leather industry to respond to the concerns raised in the Kenya Leather Industry; and initiate the revision of KS 1515 to lower the age of imported vehicles to stimulate local assembly.

Betty Maina, principal secretary at State Department of East African Affairs, challenged KEBS to come up with new innovative strategies that will support growth and grow the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors by leveraging standards and conformity assessment.

Maina noted that lack of harmonized standards has in the recent past created a number of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) for Kenyan manufacturers, especially for the food industry.

She urged stakeholders to tackle issues of food security and agro-processing by developing standards for agro-processing, food safety and development of schemes of supervision and control to improve the final agro-processed products.

“It is against this background that the East African Community (EAC) Industrialization Strategy, among its ideals, aims to diversify the manufacturing base and raise local value-added content of resource-based exports to at least 40 percent by 2032,” she added. “This can be achieved by adoption of standards.”

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