Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has extended the term of a taskforce formed to spearhead reforms on standardisation of goods in the fight against counterfeits.
The Standards and Quality Infrastructure Reforms Taskforce that Mr Munya appointed on November 15, 2019, while he was Trade minister, is chaired by Mr Wachira Maina.
It was appointed for a period of two months so it was expected to have completed its work by January 15.
But in a January 14 Gazette notice, Mr Munya extended the team’s term by three months, effective January 15.
The taskforce is undertaking a comprehensive review and evaluation of weaknesses and shortcomings of Kenya’s standards and quality infrastructure
It is analysing the system’s policy as well as legal and legislative frameworks of relevant institutions and agencies.
The terms of reference state that members are to “review and evaluate weaknesses in inter-agency coordination in the standards enforcement ecosystem.
They are also to “review adequacy of the capacity level of various institutions or agencies covering human, financial and other resources, for purposes of ensuring efficient implementation of their mandate”.
The 11-member team with four joint secretaries is looking into organisations including the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).
According to its terms of reference, it will submit a report recommending evaluation of Kebs’ internal weaknesses, its mandate and functions.
The team will also recommend evaluation of inherent conflicts of interests in the operational structure at Kebs and other agencies involved in defining, monitoring and enforcing national guidelines on standards.
It will also “review and evaluate weaknesses and shortcomings in processes and practices used by Kebs for recruitment, appointment, contracting and monitoring of third-party conformity assessment service suppliers”.
The team will also give advice on governance challenges such as discretion and administrative oversights that are undermining enforcement of standards.
It will also recommend reforms that will make Kebs an effective institution, responsive to the country’s modern challenges.
Later, the taskforce will recommend an effective, robust, internally coherent and agile institutional architecture in accordance with international best practices and in conformance with the World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.
The team advice will help re-engineer the standardisation process so as to meet the country’s goals of managing and mitigating risks in areas including quality, health, safety, environment, fair trade practices and consumer protection.
After the report on Kebs, the taskforce will submit an overall report covering shortcomings of Kenya’s standards infrastructure.
The second report should include a well-developed roadmap and an implementation strategy with key performance indicators and delivery timelines.