At least 87 percent of imported goods have not been checked for quality, while more than 61 percent of imported second-hand vehicles are rusty and had exceeded their lifespan, as there was no mechanism that ensured pre-shipment inspection of mechanical and structural conditions, an audit has shown.
The failure to check the quality of imported goods increased the risk of substandard goods in the country, while the failure by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to inspect second-hand vehicles at source endangered people’s lives and was costly in terms of insurance premiums as a result of accident rates.
This is contained in the 2019 audit report titled “Monitoring of the Quality of Goods Being Imported into the Country” that was produced by Auditor-General, Mrs Mildred Chiri.
On imported goods, Mrs Chiri said her audit showed that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce had shortcomings in monitoring the quality of the goods, inadequate monitoring of goods in transit, absence of destination inspection and lack of market surveillance, among other issues.
“The results of the audit showed that programmes implemented by the ministry were not adequately curbing the importation of substandard goods,” said Mrs Chiri in her report. “The consignment based conformity assessment programme did not have critical provisions that could help in combating influx of substandard goods.
“For example, the programme did not cover destination inspection and market surveillance. In addition, the audit noted that the ministry did not have regulations governing the quality assessment of 87,5 percent of imported products. The fact that most of the goods were not being checked for quality increased the risk of substandard goods finding their way into the country.”
In its response to the audit observations, Ministry of Industry and Commerce officials acknowledged the findings and indicated they were in the process of developing the national quality programme to curb the import and local manufacturing of substandard products.
On the import of second-hand vehicles, Mrs Chiri said there was need for inspection of mechanical and structural form at source so that vehicles that failed to meet set standards were not allowed into the country.
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