The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is facing a shortage of the International Standardisation Mark (ISM) meant for imported goods.
This comes in the wake of fake stamps found on some international products which means that goods such as toothpaste, beauty products, and rice are likely to be affected as traders cannot sell them without the mark.
The move was confirmed by KEBS interim Managing Director David Ikiara who noted that the body was looking to come up with new measures to solve the situation.
“We stopped printing the stickers. In the meantime we’re coming up with a stop-gap measure, maybe use of certificate of conformity, before we find a permanent solution,” stated Ikiara
Naivas Supermarket Chief Operating Officer Willy Kimani told the Nation: “Consumer products like rice, which are fast-moving, will be affected most if this is not sorted out immediately.”
Some supermarkets had little stock left when the government gave the directive to block imported goods for about three weeks and warehouses were unable to release goods that had been paid for.
Country manager for supermarket chain Carrefour Franck Moreau stated: “Carrefour has sufficient stock on some products that were imported before the directive was issued. However, we are already feeling the pressure on products that we receive on a weekly basis.”
In June, the government nabbed counterfeit goods worth over Ksh1.2 billion as they waged war on fake goods in the country.
KEBS also started investigations into imported goods that have the Diamond Mark of Quality yet had not received them from the quality assurance body.
Kenya imports a lot of rice from Pakistan and this will affect its distribution to consumers. This might also lead to higher prices of the product as has already been witnessed in the rising sugar prices due to a crackdown on illegally imported goods.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chairperson Flora Mutahi also pointed out that costs of storing goods were growing and the capital they would have used to finance that in terms of imported goods was being limited by the government.
“Our working capital is stuck even as our members’ warehousing costs are ever growing,” Ms Mutahi noted.