KEBS to end motor vehicles inspection monopoly

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has finally put an end to the monopoly in the controversial pre-export inspection of motor vehicles.

KEBS in inviting bidders for the contract has explicitly stated that the contract is a multiple award tender, meaning more than one player will be contracted for the job.

“KEBS shall award the tender to the tenderer(s) that is (are) responsive to Technical and Financial bids with the highest royalty fee offer subject to a minimum of four (4) tenderers (service providers). Where bidders tie in technical scores and are financial responsive both shall be awarded,” the KEBS tender document on motor vehicle inspection reads in part.

The document adds: “Supposedly the tender does NOT achieve a minimum of (4) tenderers a possible re-tender may be done to achieve additional numbers of service providers to reach the minimum four (4) service providers or even more”.

The contract is to run for three years.

Quality Inspection Services Japan (QISJ) has been the sole contractor for the Ksh. 1.5 billion annual tender, which expires in April 2021.

A bid by KEBS to engage more firms in the inspection of vehicles imported into the country has been fuelling conflict.

Last year, the National Assembly adopted the Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC) report that two firms — EAA Company Limited and Auto Terminal Japan (ATJ) — be barred from engaging in vehicle inspection tenders following alleged queries around the award.

The report questioned the capacity of the two companies to undertake inspection.

Ironically, the then sole firm undertaking motor vehicle inspection –QISJ–had sub-contracted EAA to do the inspection in some of its stations from 2012 – 2014.

KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini indicated that more players in the inspection industry means more benefits to those bringing in cars and spare parts.

“Having just one player is very risky, what if that person is influenced to reject your goods because of business rivalry, what do you do?” he posed.

The expansion of the contract saw the number of players increase to three from just a single player.

Tanzania has 3 companies while Uganda has 4 companies doing pre-export inspections.