KENYAThe Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) targets to roll out new fool-proof quality stamps by August to help curb imported counterfeits and illicit alcohol in the domestic market.

Kebs managing director Charles Ongwae said India’s Madras Security Printers Private Ltd has been awarded the tender.

“We are working to fast-track the process to cater for both import products and alcohol in the local market. We had initially targeted to start with the import products but there is now urgency to tackle both categories at a go,” he told the Business Daily.

The stamps will have highly secured features such as those used in excise stamps or Visa stickers. The country is currently battling to contain an inflow of counterfeits, especially from Asia, that have rendered locally manufactured goods uncompetitive.

The country is also fighting illicit alcohol.

“We are working to find space at our headquarters so that the contractor can set up the systems to support the new fool-proof scheme,” Mr Ongwae said.

Kenya grapples with counterfeit goods, including sugar, tea, alcohol and cigarettes that are passed off as fast-selling brands, with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers saying its members are losing Sh70 billion annually from the imitations.

The roll-out of the scheme will come as a major relief for Kebs and manufacturers after a row between the standards body and a Swiss firm threatened to delay the plans.

“We have sorted out the issues that were raised during the procurement process and we were given the green light to proceed,” Mr Ongwae said.

Documents seen by the Business Daily revealed a tussle between Kebs and SICPA Security Solutions SA that saw the public procurement watchdog on April 17 order for a re-evaluation of bids for the lucrative Sh294 million- a- year contract to supply the stamps. The contracts is scheduled to run for three years.

Kebs on January 21 placed an international tender for the supply of quality stamps complete with a traceability system. Five firms including Systemedia Technologies Ltd, Sintel Security Print Solutions, Pinnacore Printers, Madras Security Printers Private Ltd and SICPA Security Solutions SA responded.

Only two firms – India’s Madras Security Printers Private Ltd and SICPA Security Solutions SA of Switzerland – made it to the technical evaluation stage.

The tender processing committee at Kebs awarded Madras Security Printers Private Ltd an 80 per cent technical score against a pass mark of 70 per cent. Its rival SICPA Security Solutions SA scored 68 per cent at the technical evaluation.

Based on the score, the committee recommended that the contract be awarded to Madras Security Printers Private Ltd at a cost of Sh294million a year, but subject to a due diligence report on the Indian firm’s capability.

SICPA Security Solutions SA, however, disputed the committee’s verdict and lodged an appeal with the Public Procurement Review Board (PPRB) on March 20.

June 6, 2015;