Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are set to enjoy preferential benefits from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS), thanks to a new policy geared at supporting their growth.
A communique issued by KeBS Board Chairman Eng Bernard Ngore, confirms that among other benefits, MSMEs will enjoy graduated costs for all services offered by the national standards body.
This charging model, Eng Ngore said would help meet the needs of start-ups’ and upcoming entrepreneurs including Jua Kali business operators. MSME have previously been paying applicable rates at the same rate as established corporates. Statistics show that Kenya’s MSMEs contribute 40% of the GDP with the majority being in the informal sector.
Conscious of the challenges facing upcoming entrepreneurs including access to affordable financing options, the application of graduated fees will enhance standards compliance, said Eng Ngore, who is also the chairman of the National Standards Council.
He added that KEBS would also foster Intellectual property (IP) use among MSMEs, increase IPR-related skills through education and training, and make the overall IP system friendlier to MSMEs by easing procedures, adequately structuring fees and costs, improving litigation and enforcement mechanisms.
“We recognize that the MSME sector is disadvantaged in comparison to larger businesses and have undertaken to provide discounted rates and charges for players in the MSME sector,” Ngore said.
“To facilitate MSME growth, we are also implementing a preferential treatment service for MSMEs on supervision and control for product certification and any other services provided they do not impact on the safety, health and environment.”
The new MSME policy by KEBS is envisioning a vibrant sector producing high quality products accessible to local and global markets.
KEBS commitments to the MSME sector come hot on the heels of recent rapid result interventions undertaken by the standards body to cushion the industry from the impact of the pandemic. As part of a sector response, KeBS recently developed eight standards relating to goods and services for the containment of Covid-19 pandemic and availed them to manufacturers free of charge on the KEBS website.
Banking on technological advances in standards application, KEBS has also committed to supporting MSMEs to adopt ICT and adapt to the digital revolution by exploiting tech opportunities such as cloud computing and data analytics, among others.
KeBS Services to SMEs
KEBS will provide services to the MSMEs for two of the three critical pillars of industry growth.
In product development, KEBS shall be involved in standardization of innovations by the MSMEs, technical advisory services through quality assurance activities, product testing and equipment calibration, training and inspection services.
To boost Product Market access, KEBS will provide product and system certification services to facilitate better market access of the MSMEs products and market surveillance to ensure a level playing in the market.