The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has launched a service that aims to identify counterfeit goods through participation of Kenyans. The service seeks to discourage sale of non-genuine goods and services in the country by enabling consumers to easily identify and shun goods or services that do not pass their metrics i.e. lacking manufacturing information.
Kenya has for years battled the influx of substandard goods from rogue importers that look to make huge profits by selling goods and services that do not pass minimum threshold from the country’s standardization body. Ranging from food products to electronics, Kenya has seen its share of counterfeit goods imported from countries like China as well as Brazil and Mexico.
Just recently, a huge consignment of sugar imported illegally in the country was tested to have unfit amounts of mercury and you do not need to go far to encounter a fake electronic from television sets to smartphones. The Wajibika na KEBS initiative will mostly rely on Kenyans by encouraging their participation in reporting any instances they come across suspected substandard products on sale.
Wajibika na KEBS program utilizes various platforms such as the official KEBS app, emails, text messages as well as toll-free number to report such encounters. This comes as a measure to widen platforms by which Kenyans can collaborate with KEBS officers in tackling the proliferation of substandard products and counterfeits in the country.
Speaking on the unveiling of Wajibika na KEBS, the Managing Director Lt. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini acknowledged that ‘Wajibika Na KEBS’ would usher a future of a more interactive bureau and hopefully a more accountable public that values quality and embraces communal progress.
How to use Wajibika na KEBS service to verify genuine goods;
- Under the ‘Wajibika na KEBS’ initiative, Kenyans can verify whether the S-Mark permit on a product is valid by sending the code underneath the S-Mark to 20023 (SM#Code) to get product manufacturing details.
- You’ll then receive an SMS confirming the validity and details of the manufacturing permit.
- In case the details do not tally, you’ll then be expected to report to KEBS through a Toll Free Number 1545 during official working hours 8.00AM to 1.00 PM and 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM, Monday to Friday.
- You can as well verify products using the KEBS Official App on Google Play and Apple App Store
While visiting the Kenya Bureau of Standards offices, the Principal Secretary for Industrialization, Dr. Francis Owino congratulated KEBS for its efforts to tackle trade in substandard products through technology.
The secretary also said the initiative had come at a time when the government had intensified the fight against illicit trade and was keen on the fight against substandard products. Cultivating a culture of quality, where everybody is accountable for ensuring that quality of products and services is maintained is key in promoting a vibrant economy and growth in the Country’s GDP, he added.
How about sub standard products not manufactured in Kenya but are being sold locally? For example sub standard power cables for laptops.