Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) is seeking expertise from other East African countries, a head of implement tougher measures to tackle dodgy dealers who tamper with weights.
RBS is the body responsible for regulating and controlling standards, quality assurance and metrology in the country.
The move comes after complaints from consumers that some traders cheat customers by giving under weights. Only approved and verified weighing scales will be used in Rwanda.
Patrice Ntiyamira, the Director of Meteorology Services at RBS, said he was in Uganda, where he will spend fifteen days consulting.
After Uganda, Ntiyamira said, he will head to Kenya and Tanzania where he will visit bureau of standards in those countries.
He will also talk to different experts, the business community and other stakeholders to learn from them how they handled the crackdown on cheating weighing scales.
“I hope to come back when I am equipped with different expertise from neighbouring countries because Rwanda’s standards on weights and scales can not be different from others in the region,” he said.
After returning from the trip, RBS is to embark on a nationwide inspection of weighing scales and machines. The exercise is expected to take five to eight months.
The standards body recently imported seals to ensure that weighing machines and fuel dispensers are not tampered with by dodgy dealers.
The importation of the seals paved way for RBS to start a crackdown on weighing machines and fuel dispensers adjusted to cheat unsuspecting customers.
Most of the seals came from Germany and they are in different types. They include those that control weighing scales, fuel dispensers and industrial gadgets.
The bureau has also drafted a Weight and Measures Act, which will soon be sent to the Prime Minister’s office for approval.
RBS is also building laboratories that will be designed to regulate particular measures of various commodities ranging from cement, sugar, water meters, cash power (pre-paid electricity meters) and radio frequency.
“As we establish a laboratory it gives RBS a responsibility for the next step in verification and inspection,” he said.
RBS has carried out inspection of fuel dispensers in Kigali after complaints by drivers that at times they pay more only to be given less fuel at pumping stations.
A mini survey carried out by RBS in major markets in the city found that traders were using adjustable weighing machines.
At Kimironko market, the RBS team found only four weighing scales that would pass the metrology test. The adjustable weighing machines are to be banned.
Trade experts say accurate measures and weights also simplify trade and encourage investment as people prefer to invest in an up-to standard economy.
Fair and honest trade needs accurate weights and measures. The purpose of weights and measures therefore is to ensure that when someone buys an item, the correct price is charged for a correct quantity.
“Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessaries of life to every individual. They enter into the economical arrangements and daily concerns of every family and are necessary to every occupation of human industry……..” says an 1821 report on the measurement system by John Quincy Adams.
Most countries regulate the designs and scales used for commerce. There is no business that can be conducted unless each person is sure the other person is being fair and honest.