Realising the SQMT Act Objectives
Overtime the EAC has developed a number of instruments towards the realization of the objectives of the SQMT Act, 2006 and some of the achievements include the following;
- Development and implementation of the EAC Principles and Procedures for the Development and Harmonization of EAC Standards.
The procedures are intended to ensure that;
- EAC Standards harmonization process is consistent with the international best practices as defined in the WTO TBT Agreement and the WTO Code of Good Practice for the development and harmonization of Standards.
- the process for the development and harmonization of EAC standards is cost-effective and timely, to allow for wide adoption and application of the harmonized standards to enhance intra EAC trade.
Procedures that were first established in 2005 have been undergoing periodic reviews to address implementation challenges with the current 4th Edition approved in 2022.
- Harmonized 1878 EAC standards as of July 2022 to facilitate intra-EAC, regional and international trade in a number of sectors. Forty (40) more harmonized standards declared by the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) in December 2022 due for gazettement in February 2023 so as to facilitate Partner States adoption.
- Registered rise in Partner States adoption of harmonized standards from 45% in 2018 to above 87% in 2022 by all the Partners States following monitoring and validation missions in 2018 and 2022 leading to reduced standards related NTBs;
- Published Catalogue of Harmonized EAC Standards (2022) on the EAC web portal to enhance access and publicity of the harmonized standards;
- Development and implementation of the 5 Year SQMT Strategic Plan 2018 – 2023 that lays out broad strategies to harmonize standards, measurement systems, accreditation and conformity assessment regimes to reduce Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) related to standards and increase trade across and beyond the borders of EAC Partner States. The strategic plan is currently undergoing a review process;
- Development and implementation of a Regional Standardization Plan (RSP) 2020 - 2023 whose objective is to ensure standards harmonised have a positive impact socially and economically; the 2020 – 2023 plan has undergone review and a new Regional Standardization Plan 2023 – 2026 is awaiting approval by the East African Standards Committee (EASC);
- The EAC SQMT Act, 2006 repealed to clearly separate for effective intervention, issues related to Standardisation, Accreditation and conformity Assessment (SACA) Bill and Metrology Bill.
The Standardisation, Accreditation and conformity Assessment (SACA) Bill was approved by the Council of Ministers to proceed to the East African legislative Assembly (EALA) for enactment to among others;
- streamline and rationalise standardisation and conformity assessment principles in the Community with the international best practices as defined in the WTO TBT Agreement.
- facilitate trade by providing inter alia, a clear mechanism for dealing with cross-cutting SPS/TBT matters based on the principles of harmonisation, equivalence and mutual recognition
- provide a conducive environment for fair trade, protection of consumer health, safety and environment,
- strike a balance between the expectations of the business community and the regulatory authorities.
The Metrology Bill was equally approved to proceed to EALA for enactment to among others provide for the harmonization of measurement systems in respect of the International System of Units (SI); and make provision for the coordination of the administration of measurements used in science, industry, trade, health, safety, environment and law enforcement; and to provide for related matters.
- Established and operationalised Technical Subcommittees to undertake specific SQMT activities and to facilitate coordination in their implementation by the EASC and SQMT Office.