Ministry Opts to Certify Imported Goods

Four or five international conformity assessment bodies will be hired to accredit the products

The Ministry of Trade is planning to enlist four or five international conformity assessment firms that will accredit products imported into the country.

The firms will ensure the quality of products that enter the country and protect local manufacturers from unfair competition, according to Eyassu Semon, quality control director for Import & Export Goods at the Ministry.

To proceed with the new plan, the Ministry drafted a manual that identifies the particular products that will require certification and the procedures needed in applying the system. The Ministry expects to launch the plan before the end of this fiscal year.

Cosmetics products, electrical parts like voltage dividers and sockets, refrigerators, vehicular spare parts, chemical products, tools and toys are among the products that will need Pre-Export Verification of Conformity certificates before entering the country.

The manual was submitted to the Ministry for approval, according to Eyassu.

Before drafting the manual, a four-month-long study was conducted by the Ministry, and the experiences of neighbouring countries like Kenya were studied. Kenya launched the system by hiring Intertek Group, a multinational inspection, product testing and certification company, to operate its programme.

“Once management approves the proposal, we will place an international tender for expressions of interest,” said Eyassu.

The Ministry is mandated to inspect the quality of products coming into and out of the country. It conducts inspection on 140 products under its mandate at 14 branch  locations and checkpoints.  The agency ensures that products meet mandatory Ethiopian standards.

The Ethiopian Association of Basic Metals & Engineering Industries is one of the advocates of strict compliance with established standards and clamping down on contraband goods flooding the market. The Association presented a study along with a proposition to adjust zinc standards used on galvanised and corrugated sheet metals – the latter to the Ethiopian Standard Agency.

The contraband trade is considered one of the major impediments facing tax revenue collection and local manufacturers. In the first half of the last fiscal year alone, contraband goods valued at half a billion Birr were seized, according to the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority.

The new certification process will help the country run a uniform marketing system that phases out the contraband trade, according to Atlaw Alemu (PhD), lecturer and head of Addis Abeba University’s Department of Business & Economics with more than a decade experience.

“It will also help the government to generate more income from taxes and encourage local manufacturers,” he said.

Ethiopia is an import-dependent country with a vast trade deficit. In the past fiscal year, the nation imported almost 16 billion dollars worth of goods, a decline of about one billion dollars from the previous year. It makes up one-fifth of annual gross domestic product.


Published on Sep 01,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 957]



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