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Role of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)

The functions of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) are stipulated in the Standards Act, Chapter 496 of the Laws of Kenya. KEBS was established in 1974 as the premier government agency for the provision of Standards, Metrology and Conformity Assessment (SMCA) services.

Over that period, its main activities have grown from the development of standards and quality control for a limited number of locally made products in the 1970s to the provision of more comprehensive Standards development, Metrology, Conformity Assessment, Training and Certification services.

With the re-establishment of the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), KEBS activities have also widened. The activities now include participation in the development and implementation of SMCA activities at the regional level where it participates in the harmonization of standards, measurements and conformity assessment regimes for regional integration.

KEBS operates the National Enquiry Point in support of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, and which should, in its corporate name, be capable of—

  • suing and being sued;
  • taking, purchasing or otherwise acquiring, holding, charging and disposing of property, movable or immovable; and
  • entering into contracts and doing or performing all such other things or acts for the proper performance of its functions under the Standards Act which may lawfully be done or performed by a body corporate.

functions of the National Bureau of Standards (KEBS)

The functions of the National Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in Kenya are to—

  • promote standardization in industry and commerce;
  • make arrangements or provide facilities for the testing and calibration of precision instruments, gauges and scientific apparatus, for the determination of their degree of accuracy by comparison with standards approved by the Minister (in charge of Industry) on the recommendation of the Council (National Standards Council), and for the issue of certificates in regard thereto;
  • to make arrangements or provide facilities for the examination and testing of commodities and any material or substance from or with which and the manner in which they may be manufactured, produced, processed or treated;
  • control, in accordance with the provisions of the Standards Act, the use of standardization marks and distinctive marks;
  • prepare, frame, modify or amend specifications and codes of practice;
  • encourage or undertake educational work in connection with standardization;
  • assist the Government or any local authority or other public body or any other person in the preparation and framing of any specifications or codes of practice;
  • provide for co-operation with the Government or the representatives of any industry or with any local authority or other public body or any other person, with a view to securing the adoption and practical application of standards;
  • provide for the testing at the request of the Minister, and on behalf of the Government, of locally manufactured and imported commodities with a view to determining whether such commodities comply with the provisions of the Standards Act or any other law dealing with standards of quality or description.

Director and staff of the Bureau

The Minister (in charge of Industry) should, on the advice of the Council, by notice in the Gazette, appoint a Director of the Bureau who should be the chief executive officer of the Bureau.

The Council should, after consultation with the Director, appoint such members and staff of the Bureau as the Council may deem necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Bureau.

The National Standards Council

The Standards Act establishes a Council of the Bureau by the name of the National Standards Council.

The Council should, subject to the provisions of subsection (3), consist of the following members—

  • a chairman appointed by the Minister;
  • a secretary who should be the Director of the Bureau;
  • not more than seven persons appointed by the Minister who should be public officers;
  • not more than eight persons appointed by the Minister who should possess knowledge of industrial or commercial standards or other matters likely to be of assistance to the Bureau in the performance of its functions under the Standards Act.

The Minister may, after consultation with the Council, appoint not more than five persons to be additional members of the Council being persons whose assistance or advice it may from time to time require.

The Council is the Board of Directors for KEBS.

The Council should have the power to—

  • supervise and control the administration and financial management of the Bureau;
  • advise and obtain advice from the Minister in regard to any matter within his/her purview under the Standards Act;
  • formulate matters of policy for the purpose of providing general or specific guidance to the Institute for the better performance of its functions under the Standards Act;
  • do all things necessary for the better carrying out of the provisions and purposes of the Standards Act except where otherwise provided.

For more about the Kenya Bureau of Standards, see the Standards Act and visit their website at

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