No­to­ri­ous ‘lumbesa’ gets Govt at­ten­tion

The African - - NEWS - BY JAMILA SHEMNI

bil­lion ev­ery year is lost– the money that amount to more than twice health bud­get of KShs 41.5 bil­lion.

“Tax avoid­ance in poor countries has im­pacts and this is, the US$138 bil­lion lost to cor­po­rate in­come tax breaks given by poor countries which is enough to pay for the ed­u­ca­tion of 57 mil­lion chil­dren who cur­rently THE Weights and Mea­sures Agency (WMA) is work­ing on new mea­sures that will as­sist in com­bat­ing over­sized sacks (lumbesa) which are still a chal­lenge hin­der­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try.

The move fol­lows the di­rec­tives given by the Prime Min­is­ter Kas­sim Ma­jaliwa on March 23 this year by in­struct­ing WMA to ini­ti­ate and im­ple­ment bet­ter strate­gies which will see the abol­ish­ment of ‘lumbesa’ in the coun­try.

As part of Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to boost econ­omy in the coun­try and en­sure sub­stan­tial de­vel­op­ment, WMA is work­ing closely with other gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and other stake­hold­ers in en­sur­ing all traders as well as con­sumers abide to the rule and ethics in ac­cor­dance to the ex­ist­ing laws.

Speak­ing as part of the com­mem­o­ra­tion to mark the world Metrol­ogy day last week, the WMA Act­ing Di­rec­tor, Stella Kahwa, said the agency had con­ducted a spe­cial in­spec­tion pro­gram on the over-sized sacks (lumbesa) since May 4-18 this year as part of the new move to end the prob­lem.

She said that the agency will con­tinue tak­ing var­i­ous le­gal mea­sures against those who ig­nore the use of ver­i­fied and le­gal metrol­ogy, in­clud­ing tak­ing them to court with re­gard to WMA Act as it was amended in 2002, al­though it has to be up­dated.

“With this pro­gram, we have noted that 1172 busi­ness­men were ap­pre­hended and paid a fine of about sh123mil­lion as part of the le­gal mea­sures taken to end the prob­lem.

WMA in­sists on the ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sure­ments in busi­nesses. It is il­le­gal for any­one to sell or use unau­tho­rized mea­sure­ments,” she said.

She noted that the agency is re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion to con­sumers in re­la­tion to le­gal metro­log­i­cal con­trol, which in­cludes le­gal con­trol of mea­sur­ing in­stru­ments, metro­log­i­cal su­per­vi­sion and ex­per­tise.

On his part, the WMA Cal­i­bra­tion Man­ager, Richard Kadege, said for the lo­cal farm­ers to ben­e­fit from their crops they need to refuse sell­ing over­sized foods sacks which is also il­le­gal busi­ness.

Kadege urged the gas re­tail­ing agents to pro­cure gas mea­sur­ing equip­ment to help con­sumers rec­og­nize the amount of what they are pay­ing for.

He asked them to en­sure that the equip­ment mea­sures quan­tity of the gas in­di­cat­ing gross weight, net weight and tare weight in or­der not to cheat cus­tomers.

He said that WMA will con­tinue to re­mind the pub­lic that they should be keen with such mea­sure­ments when they pur­chase gas for their do­mes­tic use.

Ac­cord­ing to the law es­tab­lish­ing the agency, gas equip­ment should in­di­cate quan­tity of gas be­ing sold to a cus­tomer in or­der to avoid cheat­ing.

The top should in­di­cate gross weight, net weight and tare weight, it notes.

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