Quality assurance officials pocketing hefty salaries but not delivering in their capacities are facing looming job losses after the government announced plans to merge quality inspectorate bodies to increase efficiency.
Appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Trade and Cooperatives Wednesday, Trade CS Peter Munya said that his ministry had noticed a lot of gaps in the way bodies tasked with ensuring good sold in the country are of high quality, discharge their duties.
Munya told the legislators that combining regulators such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA), among others, will help to streamline inspection activities and improve the quality of goods and services consumed by Kenyans.
Cabinet Secretary for Industry and Trade Peter Munya says the government plans to merge all the multi agencies dealing with contrabands, counterfeits and substandard goods into one authority@CzedaBrenda #KTNNewsCentre pic.twitter.com/g3QBPGKL4N
— KTN News Alerts (@KTNNewsKE) November 14, 2019
The Kanini Kega-chaired Committee had summoned Munya to account for pertinent trade-related issues, including the recent revelation that food products in the market, such as meat and maize flour, are contaminated with dangerous chemicals, despite bearing quality approval seals from the government.
Munya was quick to point out that the issue of contaminated meat is not under his docket, rather, a Public Health concern, noting that departments under his ministry deal with processed items that can be traced to a manufacturer.
“We are merging those institutions into one because we have realized when they work independently, they are some times not effective,” Munya said when asked what he plans to do to harmonize KEBS and ACA processes.
Although merging the two bodies makes economical and operational sense, the move will be disadvantageous to individuals holding redundant roles in both agencies, as they are likely to be shown the door.
Employees holding similar roles at KEBS and ACA will also likely be affected by the planned merger, especially in the wake of the government cracking down on its subsidiaries, in a cost-cutting undertaking.
Lt. Col (Ret) Bernand Njiraini has been at the helm of KEBS since late August, after replacing embattled Charles Ongwae, who was kicked out, on the account of abuse of office.
ACA, on the other hand, is headed by Executive Director Elema Halake.