The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has remained the premier government agency for the provision of Standards, Metrology and Conformity Assessment (SMCA) services since its inception in 1974. Over that period its main activities have grown from the development of standards and quality control for a limited number of locally made products in the 1970s to the provision of more comprehensive Standards development, Metrology, Conformity Assessment, Training and Certification services. With the re-establishment of the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), KEBS activities now include participation in the development and implementation of SMCA activities at the regional level where it participates in the harmonization of standards, measurements and conformity assessment regimes for regional integration. KEBS operates the National Enquiry Point in support of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
The Mandate of the Kenya Bureau of Standards
The functions of KEBS as mandated by the Standards Act, Chapter 496 of the Laws of Kenya are inter alia:
(a) To promote standardization in industry and commerce;
(b) To make arrangements or provide facilities for the testing and calibration of precision instruments, gauges and scientific apparatus, for the determination of their degree of accuracy by comparison with standards approved by the Minister on the recommendation of the Council, and for the issue of certificates in regard thereto;
(c) To make arrangements or provide facilities for the examination and testing of commodities and any material or substance from or with which and the manner in which they may be manufactured, produced, processed or treated;
(d) To control, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the use of standardization marks and distinctive mark;
(e) To prepare, frame, modify or amend specifications and codes of practice;
(f) To encourage or undertake educational work in connexion with standardization;
(g) To assist the Government or any local authority or other public body or any other person in the preparation and framing of any specifications or codes of practice;
(h) To provide for co-operation with the Government or the representatives of any industry or with any local authority or other public body or any other person, with a view to securing the adoption and practical application of standards;
(i) To provide for the testing at the request of the Minister, and on behalf of the Government, of locally manufactured and imported commodities with a view to determining whether such commodities comply with the provisions of this Act or any other law dealing with standards of quality or description.
Role of KEBS
The following are the key roles of Kenya Bureau of Standards:
1) Provision of the country's Quality Infrastructure for facilitation of trade: In the present era of Trade Globalization, market entry requires compliance to international standards and evidence of such compliance through an internationally recognized Standards, Measurement Systems (Metrology), Conformity Assessment and Accreditation.
2) Support of Kenya Industries: A functioning quality infrastructure helps to increase productivity in manufacturing and service delivery. This helps to create jobs, encourages investment and can promote the careful use of natural resources.
3) Sustainability of production systems: A quality infrastructure also helps bring about improvements in environmental protection through sustainable consumption and production, health care, consumer protection, and distributes national wealth more equally by enabling transfer of knowledge to small enterprises.