KEBs to set up Sh300m testing lab in Mombasa

Source: Business Daily

Investment Officer 3


The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) is setting up a laboratory in Mombasa at a cost of more than Sh300 million.

Managing Director Charles Ongwae said the lab will save business owners the time and cost of sending samples to Nairobi, besides facilitating trade.

“There are a number of tests that cannot be done in Mombasa and importers have been sending samples to Nairobi but this will be a thing of the past,” he said at the Bandari College while addressing a forum for business owners in the region.

The laboratory will be located in Mombasa’s central business district along Nkrumah Road in a seven-storey building Kebs acquired at Sh700 million, where two floors will be reserved for the facility, he said.

Expensive venture

“Setting up a lab is very expensive and the European Union is partly funding the project to the tune of Sh300 million with the funding being channelled through the Standards and Market Access Programme (SMAP) but we are also going to invest more funds in the project,” he said.

“About Sh250 million has already been spent on buying equipment that will be shared between this facility and the one in Nairobi. 

"The equipment is already in the high seas expected to be delivered anytime from now,” Mr Ongwae said.

In order to conform to standards, imports and exports are subjected to quality assurance tests that are carried out by Kebs and other private laboratories.

He noted that the lab is being set up at the port city which is the key entry point for imports into the country and Kebs was keen on working with the port community to sensitise them on the need to observe standards and ensure customers get products that meet standards.

50,000 tests

Kebs conducts about 50,000 tests annually, and with the new lab in Mombasa some of them will be done at the port city easing the load on the Nairobi facility, he noted.

Concerning Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) programme in which goods are inspected at the source markets, the MD said Kebs would ensure that no substandard goods were shipped into the Kenyan market.

“So far it has been such a successful programme that other African countries are implementing it following our example. It ensures that products that don’t meet our standards don’t leave those countries,” he said. 

In his presentation, Kebs director of Metrology and Testing Dr Henry Rotich told the importers that it was crucial for them to ensure their scales were calibrated to maintain standards.

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