The Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) will, this year, put more efforts on embedding of certification tags on locally manufactured products.
Product certification involves placing a quality mark on a particular commodity bearing the RBS logo.
Addressing journalists, on Thursday, about the institution’s achievements and targets, the Director General of RBS, Dr. Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, stated that a product is certified by RBS only if it meets set standards, adding that certification is a sign of superior quality and excellence.
“Last year, we only certified 40 products, but this is not enough. Our main focus this year is to put an RBS quality mark on more products,” he asserted.
Cyubahiro mentioned that merchandise certification would help consumers distinguish between genuine products and imitations.
He noted that products with the RBS mark of quality boosts the credibility of locally made products hence easing their access to the international market.
The products that currently bear the RBS quality mark include tea, coffee, diverse types of fruit drinks and mineral water, minerals among others.
The RBS chief said that last year his institution managed to set up more laboratories with internationally recognised testing facilities.
“We sensitised about 550 people from local companies and industries, last year, regarding the compliance with RBS standards. We are calling upon the public to always report substandard products that may pose risks to their lives,” he urged.
Speaking at the event, Philip Nzaire, the Director of Quality Assurance at RBS, mentioned that substandard products are penetrating into the Rwandan market, adding that poor quality commodities like rice normally come from Pakistan. He added that other substandard goods originate from China and United Arab Emirates.
“We don’t have the list of substandard products because it’s not possible due to the fact that goods identified as of poor quality and dangerous to people’s health are dumped, while others intercepted at borders are not allowed entry into our country,” he asserted.
Nzaire said that RBS inspection staff regularly visit marketplaces and industries to monitor and ensure that no harmful substandard products are distributed.
According to Antoine Mukunzi, the Director of Bio-Chemical Labs at RBS, body lotions and jelly that contain hydroquinone continue to enter into the Rwandan market because they are in high demand among women.
“Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent, women and girls like lotions that contain this chemical ingredient because it whitens/brightens their skin, but this is dangerous to their body because in the long run, it causes cancer,” he warned.
Mukunzi pointed out that not all cheap products are substandard, noting that some meet the required standard.