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EDITORIAL: Ensure seamless supply of essential products




Cargo at the Port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Reports that there is a biting shortage of female hygiene products in the country are worrying. According to a report carried in this newspaper, the shortage has been brought about by import hitches at the points of entry.

Local suppliers have attributed the shortage to hurdles in the supply of raw materials that are used to produce the tampons. The slow movement of cargo at the Port of Mombasa has also been blamed for the shortage.

Even as we welcome the enforcement of more stringent inspection procedures at the port that are aimed at cracking down on the importation of counterfeit goods, the State agencies responsible for the verification exercise should ensure that they do not hamper the supply of essential goods into the country.

The ongoing crackdown has previously also affected soft drinks manufacturers.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Revenue Authority had last May issued a notice to all importers of consolidated air and sea cargo to have their goods inspected under a new procedure that was introduced in 2005. What the government agencies need to do is to roll out measures that will ease the movement of goods into the country even as the inspections are conducted.

The exercise should be seamless as it would ensure that the taxman earns the required revenue, no substandard goods are allowed in and suppliers would able to meet the demands of their clients.

Any hiccups in the process as currently witnessed will only lead to a shortage of goods, punishing the innocent users in the process.

The ongoing shortage is a sad indictment of the red tape that is endemic in the public sector.

Officials responsible for inspecting goods that enter the country should always work in the knowledge that manufacturers and their clients operate in an environment that does not tolerate haphazard supply of goods. In that same spirit the State agencies should hasten their inspection procedures so as as to assure the market of a constant supply of essential goods.