EAC National Standards Bodies to Harmonize Inspection Procedures

The East African Community national standards bodies are working on the harmonization of quality inspection procedures among the five member states.

The East African Community (EAC) Quality Assurance Technical Sub-committee is studying EAC member countries’ quality inspection processes as part of the process to harmonize inspection procedures in the region..

The technical sub-committee’s inspection working group is in Tanzania now visiting inspection sites and entry points as part of the implementation of the directive by the chief executives of the EAC partner states’ national standards bodies to the sub-committee on inspection visits at entry points.

The Acting Chairperson of the group, Ms. Tumaini Mtitu said committee members from Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda visited various entry points in Mombasa and are now in Dar es Salaam, with a view of collecting information that will be used to establish a more permanent joint inspection process which includes the harmonization of essential procedures and operational issues.

“The harmonized inspection regime will facilitate the inspection of products at the first point of entry into the EAC territory. This is to ensure that goods shall only be inspected once and allowed to enjoy free circulation in all partner states thereafter,” Ms. Mtitu elaborated.

Ms. Mtitu further said the group found it necessary to harmonize market surveillance procedures to ensure that products in the market are subjected to similar scrutiny and provide market intelligence which can be used by all partner states.

While in Mombasa between March 15, 2010 and March 26, 2010, Ms. Mtitu said the group witnessed import inspection and market surveillance activities. They visited 3 Container Freight Stations (CFS) (which are privately owned facilities used by import and export government agencies including KEBS and other stakeholders), Kilindini port and Lunga Lunga border point near Horohoro of Tanzania and various outlets were visited for market surveillance.

After the visit the group will participate in a two days harmonization meeting to be held from April 12, 2010 at the Blue Pearl Hotel in Dar es Salaam, under the sponsorship of the Germany National Metrology Institute (PTB).

The five EAC national standards bodies are Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) and Burundi Bureau of Standards (BBN).