Standards body to crack down on weights, measures cheats

Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) is to implement tougher measures to tackle dodgy dealers who tamper with weights and measures to cheat consumers.

Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) is to implement tougher measures to tackle dodgy dealers who tamper with weights and measures to cheat consumers.

RBS, the body responsible for regulating and controlling standards, quality assurance and metrology in the country said the crackdown starts July this year.

This is after government ordered thousands of seals and stamps from the United Kingdoms. These will ensure that weighing machines, fuel dispensers are not tampered with. 

They have also assembled a team of 12 members to start the crackdown. The body has now got laboratories for testing volumes, temperature, electricity and dimensions.

Fuel dispensers are targeted after complaints by drivers that at times they pay more only to be given less fuel at pumping stations.

Patrice Ntiyamira, the Head of the Metrology Unit in RBS said he has received reports that consumers in the country are cheated.

“There are incidences where one is made to pay for 50 kilograms of sugar only to find later that the bag contains 43 kilograms or less,” he said last week.

George Rubangura, Kigali City resident claims is a victim.
 “The sellers actually adjust these machines in the presence of customers. One time I was given 300 grams instead of 500 grams,” Rubangura said.

RBS has also received complaints that some fuelling stations cheat customers. “There incidences when one pays for 20 litres only to be given less fuel,” said Ntiyamira.

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 tests. The adjustable weighing machines are to be banned. 

Ntiyamira said the crackdown will start at entry points and Magerwa warehouses, to ensure that only weighing scales and fuel dispensers approved and verified are the ones allowed in the country.

Why crackdown?
Trade gurus say accurate measures and weights also simplify trade and encourage investment as people prefer to invest in an up-to standard economy.

“Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessaries of life to every individual of human society.

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.

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.