Relief to business stakeholders in Mombasa as KEBS set to open new laboratory

KEBS MD Charles Ongwae adressing the press in Mombasa. PHOTO: WYCLIF OKUMU.

Mombasa, KENYA: The Government could soon save business stakeholders in Mombasa from the burden of transporting samples of their goods to Nairobi for examinations.

Speaking during the annual Mombasa business forum on Thursday, Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director MD Charles Ongwae said the Government is in the process of setting up a new laboratory in Mombasa.

The seven-storey building located opposite the Mombasa Trade Centre has cost the Government approximately Sh. 700 m with Sh. 25 m injected on equipment according to Mr. Ongwae.

”Installations and partitioning process are at the last stages, we are expecting the laboratory to starting operating in the next one and half months so that testing of goods can be done here in Mombasa,” he said.

”At the moment we are doing approximately 50,000 test a year across Kebs at our Nairobi laboratory, a lot of such inspections will be shifted to Mombasa once the laboratory become operational,” he said.

He added the move is aimed at ensuring imported goods at the Port of Mombasa are of high standards and quality to reduce the number of counterfeit goods entering the country.

“The amount of substantial goods which used to come into the country without Kebs interventions has reduced, there are products which used to be common at the shelves, nowadays you don’t see them,”

”This is as result of the new rules that requires anybody importing such goods for sell in the country to obtain an import standardization mark,” he asserted.

Mr. Ongwae maintained reasons for Kebs pushing for standardization of goods is to facilitate trade, protect consumers from poor quality and harmful goods, keep environment safe and to enhance innovation.

”Mombasa is the main entry point for imports in the country, therefore it’s important for Kebs to sensitize and work with the port and business community in Mombasa so that the Kenyan consumer get products that meet Kenyan standards,” he added.

The opening of the Government laboratory in Mombasa however is a blow to private lab owners who have been charging high business people who opt not to transport samples of their goods to Nairobi for inspections to save time.